It was a scene of chaos and confusion within the higher tiers of the police service and native authorities when a convoy of massive rigs and protesters arrived in Ottawa to demand an finish to pandemic restrictions final winter.
That’s the image witnesses have painted over the primary couple of weeks of hearings on the Public Order Emergency Commission, which is investigating the federal authorities’s use of the Emergencies Act in February to deliver an finish to the weeks-long demonstration.
The inquiry additionally heard from companies that had been compelled to shut down and from the capital’s downtown residents, who recounted their struggling as lawlessness and around-the-clock blaring truck horns took over their neighborhood.
Former Ottawa police chief Peter Sloly appeared Friday to defend his selections final winter, and can return Monday for cross-examination.
But till this week, the inquiry hasn’t heard from the protesters themselves.
Slated to seem this week are witnesses who can make clear the conception of the “Freedom Convoy” motion, which by all accounts to date seems to have been began by two truck drivers and a TikTok video, and the way it escalated over time.
Several of the protest organizers on the witness checklist face legal prices associated to their involvement within the protest, together with Tamara Lich and Pat King.
Keith Wilson, a lawyer representing plenty of key convoy organizers, mentioned earlier than the inquiry that his purchasers are keen to speak about what was occurring, and why they had been in Ottawa within the first place.
“They’re hoping it would turn out to be obvious, which many already know, that there was no want to invoke the Emergencies Act,” he mentioned.
Wilson has since been added to the checklist of witnesses himself.
The protesters started to arrive in Ottawa on Jan. 28 to categorical their anger and opposition to the federal authorities and to COVID-19 restrictions, together with vaccine mandates.
The protest shortly developed into what police have deemed an “occupation,” as protesters blocked visitors and arrange camps in metropolis streets. They blared horns, shouting cries of “freedom,” and refused to depart till their calls for had been met.
CBC News: The House9:49Breaking down the third week of the Emergencies Act inquiry
The demonstrators impressed related protests elsewhere within the nation, together with a six-day blockade of the Canada-U.S. border crossing on the Ambassador Bridge in Windsor, Ont.
On Feb. 14, the federal authorities invoked the Emergencies Act to grant new powers to police, blocking sections of town and compelling towing corporations to take away automobiles. Powers had been additionally granted to banks and different monetary providers corporations to freeze protest organizers’ funds.
By Feb. 18, a large police operation was underway to clear the protesters out of Ottawa streets.
The testimony from the convoy’s viewpoint is anticipated to start with two of the primary organizers to get entangled with planning the protest: Chris Barber and Brigitte Belton.
Barber has been co-accused with Tamara Lich of legal mischief, obstructing police, and counselling others to commit mischief and intimidation for his actions through the protest.