A week-long occupation of Canada’s capital by truckers opposed to vaccine mandates was set to ramp up Saturday with thousands of demonstrators expected to pile into Ottawa while other cities also braced for protests.
Police said they were expecting up to 2,000 protesters as well as 1,000 counter-protesters to join the hundreds already parked in front of parliament, but organizers said tens of thousands were headed to Ottawa.
Similar protests are also planned for Toronto, Quebec City, and Winnipeg.
“This remains… an increasingly volatile and increasingly dangerous demonstration,” Ottawa police Chief Peter Sloly told a news conference Friday.
Following thousands of complaints from local residents of threats and harassment by protesters who have made even sleep difficult with incessant honking, and an online petition signed by 40,000 demanding action, Sloly vowed to crack down on what he called an “unlawful” protest.
But he did not offer a timeline.
Reached for comment by AFP, protest coordinator Jim Torma said on behalf of organizers that the protesters would not back down.
“They’re not going to hide us,” Torma said. “We’re going to be in (politicians’) faces as long as it takes” to force an end to public health restrictions aimed at slowing the spread of Covid-19
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