Ottawa Police Chief Peter Sloly lost his job after failing to move decisively against the bumper-to-bumper demonstration by hundreds of truck drivers. The protests by the so-called Freedom Convoy have infuriated many residents, who have complained of being harassed and intimidated on the streets.
Ottawa’s police chief was ousted on Tuesday amid criticism of his inaction against the trucker protests that have paralysed Canada’s capital for over two weeks, while the number of blockades maintained by demonstrators at the US Border dropped to just one..
The twin developments came a day after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau invoked Canada’s Emergencies Act and threatened to take tough legal and financial measures to end the unrest in Ottawa and beyond by protesters decrying the country’s COVID-19 restrictions and Trudeau’s government.
“Like other residents in Ottawa, I have watched in disbelief as this carnival chaos has been allowed to continue,” Diane Deans, chair of the Ottawa Police Services Board, said in announcing Sloly’s departure. She added that the protesters had turned downtown into a street party with big screens, hot tubs and an outdoor gym.
Sloly said in a statement that he did everything possible to keep the city safe, calling it an “unprecedented and unforeseeable crisis.” Ottawa’s police board said 360 vehicles remained involved in the blockade in the city’s core, down from a high of roughly 4,000.
A command center was set up so that the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and the Ontario Provincial Police could assume command over the situation, apparently relegating Ottawa police to a secondary role.