Ottawa police make two arrests following demonstration-related investigations


Published February 2, 2022 at 5:28 am

OTTAWA — The Ottawa Police Service says it has charged two men following demonstration-related investigations as the anti-COVID-19 vaccine mandate protest continues to keep the capital at a standstill.

Police say 37-year-old Andre Lacasse was charged on Sunday with carrying a weapon to a public meeting, while 29-year-old Matthew Dorken was charged with mischief under $5,000.

Ottawa residents frustrated with the incessant blare of truck horns, traffic gridlock and harassment by some members of the protest have questioned how police have handled the demonstration.

Police and city officials have stressed the need to avoid inflaming the situation in a way that could prompt serious violence.

Canada Unity, the group behind the convoy, originated during the 2019 pro-pipeline convoy to Ottawa but morphed into an anti-COVID-19 restriction protest after the pandemic began.

Demonstrators have suggested they plan to remain in Ottawa until all COVID-19 public health restrictions are lifted.

Police estimate they have spent roughly $800,000 per day to supervise the protest and respond to emergencies, and there are calls for some of the millions of dollars raised in support of the demonstration to make reparations for some of the actions of those involved.

The Private Motor Truck Council of Canada cited the desecration of the National War Memorial and the Terry Fox statue downtown, as well as the harassment of servers and patrons of the Shepherds of Good Hope homeless shelter. The council suggests Canada Unity make a donation to the Terry Fox Foundation, the Royal Canadian Legion and the Shepherds of Good Hope.

On Tuesday, the House of Commons passed four unanimous consent motions introduced by the Liberals, including to condemn the use of Nazi and antisemitic symbols, anti-Muslim rhetoric and the waving of racist flags.

The fourth motion effectively called on the House to declare there is nothing peaceful about the protests that harass residents of Ottawa, particularly those who identify as LGBTQ.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 2, 2022.

The Canadian Press

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