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Ottawa police announce safety measures as protests over vaccine mandates carry into second weekend


By Hannah Sarisohn, CNN

Ottawa police are preparing for a second straight weekend of protests by truckers downtown over new Canadian Covid-19 vaccine mandates.

The truckers oppose a recent mandate requiring drivers entering Canada to be fully vaccinated or face testing and quarantine requirements. The group is also protesting other health restrictions, including mask mandates and Covid-19 lockdowns, CNN previously reported.

Some demonstrators have been threatening and harassing locals, officials said, including reports of homophobic and racist behavior, as Ottawa has become a hotspot for protesters objecting to the vaccine mandates, according to CNN’s previous reporting.

The police service’s safety plan is comprised of four components aimed at increasing personnel, enhancing intelligence, hardening the border of the protest area, and investigating all criminal acts, according to a police service release.

Ottawa police will deploy about 150 uniformed and non-uniformed officers to patrol the most-affected neighborhoods, including Centretown, Sandy Hill, Lowerton and Byward Market, according to the statement.

These measures are effective immediately, according to police.

“The hatred, violence, and illegal acts that Ottawa residents and businesses have endured over the last week is unacceptable in any circumstance. The Ottawa Police Service and the City of Ottawa are bringing significantly greater resources to restore order, hold offenders to account and protect our neighbourhoods,” the police service said in its release. “This remains a very volatile and very dangerous demonstration.”

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