A multi-block vehicle control zone is in effect around Parliament Hill, intended to prevent a second occupation of downtown Ottawa by protesters linked to last winter’s “Freedom Convoy” movement.
Ottawa Bylaw says 120 parking tickets were issued and 28 vehicles were towed between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Wednesday
The area extending from Colonel By Drive/Sussex Drive to the east, Wellington Street to the north, Booth Street to the west and Laurier Avenue to the south will not be closed to vehicles but will be restricted.
“Motor vehicles participating in any form of demonstration, event, protest or rally are not allowed,” the city said. “Barricades, heavy equipment or police officers and vehicles will be placed at various entry points around the control zone, to filter the legal traffic on those streets.”
The control zone is in effect from Wednesday 08:00 to Monday 06:00. There are also road closures on Canada Day.
The Vehicle Control Zone is one of several measures the Ottawa Police Department is taking to prevent a repeat of last February, when protesters parked heavy trucks downtown and set up a makeshift village to protest the federal Liberal government and COVID-19 public health. protections. Police eventually removed them, authorized by the first-ever invocation of the federal emergency law.
A look at the Motor Vehicle Control Zone in downtown Ottawa for Canada Day. (City of Ottawa/release)
Ottawa’s interim chief of police, Steve Bell, assures residents that last winter’s occupation will not be repeated.
“There will be no occupiers because all of our planning is focused on making sure people don’t occupy our streets, people don’t take over areas of Ottawa,” Bell told the Ottawa Police Services Board on Monday. “We have made very carefully considered plans and we have foreseen those plans so that occupation does not happen again.”
Bell said on CTV News at noon on Tuesday that police have not forgotten what happened five months ago.
“The trauma our community suffered in February has been central to all of our planning,” he said. “Canada Day is about celebrating our country… We want to encourage people to come down and we want to let them know that you can come to a great area that will have a festive environment.”
Bell says all lawful protests are allowed, but illegal activities will not be tolerated. Ottawa Bylaw also says there is no tolerance for setting up tables, tents or other equipment on city roads and sidewalks.
Mayor Jim Watson says the city has learned from the occupation.
“This time we were ahead of the situation, not last time. Of course things got out of hand last time,” Watson told CTV Morning Live on Wednesday. “When 18-wheelers show up on residential streets, they are ticketed and towed. You are not allowed to drive an 18-wheeler on a residential street that has four or five takes up parking spaces. There will be zero tolerance.”
Ottawa Bylaw says enforcement of no-stop zones is already underway.