The ongoing truckers’ protest in the Canadian capital is “out of control,” the Ottawa mayor said Sunday, announcing a state of emergency as the city center remained blocked by opponents of anti-Covid measures.
The protesters, who first reached the capital on January 29, have parked their big rigs on city streets and put up tents and temporary shacks — paralyzing the capital to the consternation of officials and the mounting frustration of many residents.
Mayor Jim Watson announced a state of emergency that “reflects the serious danger and threat to the safety and security of residents posed by the ongoing demonstrations and highlights the need for support from other jurisdictions and levels of government,” a statement from the city said.
Earlier in the day, Watson had described the situation as “completely out of control,” adding that the protesters “have far more people than we have police officers.”
“Clearly, we are outnumbered and we are losing this battle,” he told CFRA radio. “This has to be reversed; we have to get our city back.”
Watson called the truckers “insensitive,” as they have continued “blaring horns and sirens and fireworks, and turning it into a party.”
The demonstrations began as protests by truckers angry with vaccine requirements when crossing the US-Canadian border, but have morphed into broader protests against Covid-19 health restrictions and the government of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
Locals have complained of the ceaseless sound of air horns and of being harassed, insulted or blocked by the protesters.
The truckers and their supporters have dug in, however, saying the protests will continue until the Covid-related restrictions are lifted