Canada’s CTV News on Tuesday reported that Freedom Convoy protesters driven from downtown Ottawa by this weekend’s police action are “regrouping” on private property around the city, as they evidently planned in advance.
CTV said some of the regrouping was occurring on private property whose owners were allegedly not happy to see hundreds of supporters following the Freedom Convoy truckers back to their usual truck stops. Dozens of vehicles orbited the trucks at one stop, and tents had reportedly sprung up, as well.
Protesters told Tom Peckett, the mayor of McNab Braeside, they were only lingering for a day or two to say farewells before heading home.
“They come in for a day, they stay overnight, they socialize, they get up in the morning and a bunch of that group leaves for the west and then some more come in from the city of Ottawa,” said Peckett, who added he had no problem with activity, since the protesters obtained all necessary permits and were not obstructing traffic.
After a large police operation cleared out ‘Freedom Convoy’ protesters from downtown Ottawa, many vehicles are regrouping on private properties in communities outside of the city. https://t.co/kLwN07T3dd
— CTV Ottawa (@ctvottawa) February 23, 2022
Similar gatherings were observed by CTV and the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) in the vicinity of Ottawa, mostly using private property volunteered by its owners. Most of these locations were within an hour or two of Ottawa, and some of the protesters said on social media they were thinking of returning to Ottawa eventually instead of going home.
At one rally site in the Ottawa suburb of Greely, protesters told CBC they felt “discouraged, but not defeated.”
“If they’re not even from here, I don’t think they should be here. There’s a reason downtown was cleared out. Go home. Be done with it,” a Greely business owner responded.
Meanwhile, Winnipeg police on Tuesday told protesters parked near the Manitoba legislature for the past three weeks that they need to clear within 48 hours, or their vehicles could be seized under the Emergencies Act controversially invoked by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
“Your ongoing presence and blocking of streets is interfering with the lawful use and enjoyment of personal and public property,” the police statement said, warning that “arrest and charges” could result if the vehicles were not removed.
When Trudeau was asked on Monday why he still needed “emergency powers” after protesters were pushed out of Ottawa, he cited the possibility of Freedom Convoy truckers regrouping and returning.
“People [are] out there indicating that they are ready to blockade, to continue their illegal occupations to disrupt Canadians’ lives. We feel that this measure needs to remain in place,” he said.