Ottawa police chief Peter Sloly, who had earned criticisms for his handling of the anti-vaccine mandate protests, has resigned, media reports said on Wednesday.
The protest has left the city paralysed for the past several weeks. Protesters have occupied the centre of Canada’s capital for 19 days, leaving the traffic of the city halted. In a statement, the police chief said: “It is with a heavy heart I am announcing I have stepped down as Chief of the Ottawa Police Service.”
“Since the onset of this demonstration, I have done everything possible to keep this city safe and put an end to this unprecedented and unforeseeable crisis,” he said.
“I am confident the Ottawa Police Service is now better positioned to end this occupation,” he added.
Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has invoked emergency powers in response to the ongoing trucker protests against the country’s COVID-19 restrictions.
Canadian PM Justin Trudeau, in a news conference on Monday, said he was invoking the Emergencies Act, previously known as War Measures Act, which allows the federal government of the country to take “special temporary measures” for a period of 30 days during national emergencies.
Calling the step a “last resort”, Trudeau said, “Right now, the situation requires additional tools not held by any other federal, provincial or territorial law. Today, in these circumstances, it is now clear that responsible leadership requires us to do this.”
By announcing the “unprecedented” move, Justin Trudeau has become the first leader in Canada to invoke the federal Emergencies Act, to bring an end to the ongoing anti-government trucker convoy protests that have been paralyzing Ottawa, the country’s capital, and its border transport with the United States for the last two weeks in the name of “Freedom Convoy”.
The “Freedom Convoy” in Ottawa, which had started two weeks ago as a demonstration against vaccine mandates for truckers, has now expanded to a protest against all pandemic restrictions, with a string of blockades reported in Ontario and Alberta, as well as agitations across Canada.
The protests and blockades sprung up at the Canada-US border have been choking trade and traffic between the two nations for the last two weeks.