February 4th Release from the Ottawa Police Service
The Ottawa Police Service and its partners are implementing a surge and contain strategy in Ottawa’s downtown neighbourhoods to further protect neighbourhoods, restore order and prevent unlawful activity.
In connection with ongoing demonstrations, Ottawa’s downtown residents and businesses continue to be severely impacted by unlawful acts, including harassment, mischief, hate crimes, and noise violations. We know that additional demonstrators are coming, and we are significantly increasing our policing resources to respond.
To prevent and reduce the impacts of demonstrators entering the downtown core, and to improve neighbourhood safety, the Ottawa Police Service is implementing the following measures – effective immediately
Major deployment of police officers in the downtown neighbourhoods: There will be approximately 150 additional uniformed and non-uniformed officers dedicated to only patrolling and addressing unlawful and threatening conduct in the most impacted neighbourhoods including: Centretown, Sandy Hill, Lowertown and the Byward Market. This includes working with City and NCR officials to prevent unlawful and unsafe use of public space by demonstrators.
Expand and harden perimeter of the demonstration red zone: The Ottawa Police Service and City of Ottawa will be utilizing concrete and heavy equipment barricades to create no-access roadways throughout the downtown core. The City of Ottawa will be releasing a map of impacted roads later today. Protestor vehicles will be directed to designated parking zones outside of the downtown core. Illegal parking by demonstrators will result in by-law enforcement, removal and impound. If necessary, interprovincial bridges, highway off ramps and/or roads will be closed.
Enforcement directives: The surge of police officers will result in enforcement to restore public safety. This includes increased investigation enforcement and charges for all criminal acts related hate, harassment, assaults (including spitting), intimidation, and mischief.
Enhanced intelligence operations and investigations: National, provincial and local intelligence agencies have increased efforts to identify and target protestors who are funding/supporting/enabling unlawful and harmful activity by protestors. Investigative evidence-gathering teams are collecting financial, digital, vehicle registration, driver identification, insurance status, and other related evidence that will be used in criminal prosecutions. Every unlawful act, including traffic violations, will be fully pursued regardless of origin.
The primary focus of each of these measures will be on the unlawful behaviour connected to the ongoing demonstrations (including parallel and counter demonstrations).
We strongly urge all demonstrators and those engaging with demonstrators to act lawfully, peacefully and respectfully.
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 current occupation of the Parliamentary Precinct remains unresolved despite significant success in reducing the number of trucks/demonstrators while preventing riots, injuries and death. We take no solace in these operational successes. The demonstrators in this red zone area remain highly organized, well-funded, and extremely committed to resisting efforts to end the demonstration safely. This remains a very volatile and very dangerous demonstration.
The Ottawa Police Service continues to work with the national security agencies, the RCMP, the OPP and other police agencies. We are also working with all three levels of government, to affect a safe, timely and lawful end to this unlawful and unacceptably dangerous demonstration.
Public safety remains paramount as does our commitment to work with all levels of government and all parts of civil society to bring this demonstration to an end.