Ottawa's city council was the sight of protest on the morning of December 11, as several women stood in the audience and called for city councillor Rick Chiarelli to resign. Chiarelli has been accused of sexual harassment but has refused to step down from his position.

A petition calling for his resignation reached 1,050 signatures, exceeding its original goal. The organizers have since raised the goal to 1,500.

"Over the past three months, more than a dozen women have come forward with serious allegations against Councillor Chiarelli concerning an ongoing campaign of exploitation and workplace sexual harassment," the petition reads.

"Based on these allegations, which are credible and corroborated in media reports, we believe that Councillor Chiarelli has improperly used his elected position of power, prestige and influence in ways that are completely inappropriate and unacceptable in a workplace, and more importantly in our city."

The protesters in the city council audience wore white t-shirts bearing the hashtag #ResignRick, which also began trending on Twitter. As the women stood in protest, so too did several Ottawa city councillors.

However, there were a number of tweets pointing out those who did not stand, including Theresa Kavanagh, who represents Ward 7. Kavanagh is also the Special Liaison on Women's Issues and Gender Equity.

"This is awesome. But super disappointed in my councillor
@tm_kavanagh, who is ironically council’s liaison for women and gender equity... #ResignRick" wrote Twitter user @heyitscara13.

Cllr. Jan Harder also did not stand, saying that she had too many things to do because it is "Budget Day."

"There is nothing more important than ensuring the safety and dignity of city hall staff, Jan Harder. #ResignRick" wrote @amberllab.

One Twitter user pointed out what they say is something worse than representatives refusing to stand.

"Could be worse, my councillor IS the offender #ResignRick" wrote @BaylieBoys.

A display of protest was also set up outside of city hall, including bras and signs calling for Chiarelli to resign.

A second petition is calling for Chiarelli to respond to the allegations personally. As of writing, it had reached 200 signatures.


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