Haircuts, hot tubs and hapless police: Canada trucker's protest continues unfazed after emergency

Updated: Feb 16, 2022, 01:47 PM(IST)

Trucker-led protesters occupying the Canadian capital showed no sign of backing down, despite a newly invoked state of emergency, granting wide new powers to end their weeks-long protest over Covid rules. Instead, the protesters seem to have grown stronger in their resolve.

Let's take a look:


Why was the Emergencies Act invoked?

Frustration with the failure of Canadian police to lift blockades at the border and in the capital, along with scenes of protesters lounging in hot tubs near Parliament, ultimately drove Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to seek emergency powers, three sources said on Tuesday.

Trudeau on Monday invoked the little-used Emergencies Act, signalling the federal government was taking control of a situation local and provincial police have struggled to resolve as protests against pandemic restrictions dragged on.


Not going anywhere

"Truckers are not going anywhere," said one protester who gave his name only as Tyler, sitting at the wheel of his truck parked outside parliament.

Trudeau's move marks only the second time in Canadian history such emergency powers have been invoked in peacetime.


Police outnumbered

Ottawa police initially said their objective was to de-escalate. Later they asked both the provincial and federal governments for more resources, saying they were outnumbered.

According to sources, the addition of chaotic scenes from Ottawa on the weekend, including hundreds of residents turning out to block another convoy from joining the protesters, proved too much.

Police stood by as protesters bathed in a hot tub and partied into the night directly in front of parliament and below the prime minister's office.


Police chief resigns

"This past weekend in Ottawa really drove some people over the edge, the hot tub, the stage, and ... the impotence of the police to do something about it," the source said.

Police chief Peter Sloly resigned on Tuesday amid criticism of his force's performance, city officials said on Tuesday.


Significant progress in ending the demonstration

At a news conference, Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino noted "significant progress" in bringing an end to border crossing demonstrations that he said were carried out by "a very small organized group that is driven by an ideology to overthrow the government."

Police over the weekend cleared demonstrators from the Ambassador Bridge connecting Windsor, Ontario and Detroit in the US state of Michigan -- arresting 46 people and seizing 37 vehicles.


Nefarious elements

Protesters who had paralysed parts of Ottawa since Jan. 28 were getting more entrenched, and there is a growing concern about the presence of "nefarious elements" among the protesters. Police in Alberta later seized guns and ammunition from a group linked to a border protest.

"The prime minister was quite mad," said a government source, referring to a Thursday meeting of the federal Incident Response Group, made up of Trudeau's top advisers. "He said we need to get out in front of this."

"He was demanding solutions" at the meeting, a third source familiar with the matter said, adding Trudeau was saying: "Let's put everything on the table and say, what are the good ideas here?"


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