Around one week after Freedom Convoy protesters first arrived in Canada's capital, the City of Ottawa has officially declared a state of emergency.
On Sunday, February 6, a statement confirmed the update was in response to the ongoing demonstrations taking place at and around Parliament Hill.
Those involved in the protests are demonstrating against government-enforced COVID-19 measures, including mandatory vaccination and lockdowns.
"Declaring a state of emergency reflects the serious danger and threat to the safety and security of residents posed by the ongoing demonstrations and highlights the need for support from other jurisdictions and levels of government," the notice reads.
Today, February 6, Mayor Jim Watson has declared a state of emergency for the City of Ottawa due to the ongoing demonstrations.\nFor more information, visit: https://bit.ly/34h7JoK\u00a0pic.twitter.com/UO3hdSnQeq— City of Ottawa (@City of Ottawa) 1644182281
Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson revealed that the declaration will help Ottawa Police to get supplies and equipment faster, while also providing extra tools to support city staff when it comes to procurement.
"We're in the midst of a serious emergency, the most serious emergency our city has ever faced," he told CBC News on Sunday. "We need to cut the red tape to get these supplies available to our police officers and to our public works staff."
The same day, Ottawa Police also announced that they would be ramping up enforcement in the city by handing out tickets and arresting those who are caught trying to bring "material aid" — like gas — to protesters.
IMPORTANT: Anyone attempting to bring material supports (gas, etc.) to the demonstrators could be subject to arrest. Enforcement is underway. #ottawa #ottnewspic.twitter.com/tp4e5d2xe1— Ottawa Police (@Ottawa Police) 1644173572
A police report from Sunday confirmed that seven people had been arrested, while over 100 tickets had been issued. This includes tickets for excessive honking, driving the wrong way, not wearing a seat belt, having alcohol readily available and having the improper class of driving licence.
Officers say 60 criminal investigations also remain underway, "primarily for mischief, thefts, hate crimes and property damage."
Although the city has now declared a state of emergency, it is yet to take up Justin Trudeau's possible offer of military support. Speaking last week, the prime minister said his government would "of course look at any formal requests" from Ottawa.
A week after demonstrators started arriving in the capital, an increasing number of politicians and local officials are speaking out about the disruption caused by roadblocks, business closures and excessive noise from horns and shouting.
Dear @JustinTrudeau please do something. You have a responsibility to protect your Capital. We are under siege. Day 9.https://twitter.com/cattunneycbc/status/1490128195747729411\u00a0\u2026— Catherine McKenney (they/them) (@Catherine McKenney (they/them)) 1644147529
An Ottawa councillor described those involved as "terrorists" and said they are "torturing" local people.
Ottawa official Catherine McKenney also called on Trudeau to do more to protect the city, saying "Please do something. You have a responsibility to protect your Capital. We are under siege."
Similar convoys continue to take place in other parts of the country too, including in Toronto where arrests have also been made.