Convoy protest: Police say criminal investigations will continue for months

Ottawa’s acting police chief says the investigation into the three-week occupation of downtown Ottawa will continue for “months to come.”

On Saturday, police cleared Wellington Street in front of Parliament Hill of protesters for the first time since the protest began on January 28. As officers began to enter the city center on Friday, several vehicles left Wellington Street, Kent Street and other streets in the area.

However, Acting Chief Steve Bell says the investigation won’t end when protesters leave the streets of Ottawa.

“If you are involved in this protest, we will actively seek to identify you and prosecute you with financial penalties and criminal prosecution,” Bell said.

“This investigation will continue for months. It has many, many different facets, both from the federal financial level, the provincial licensing level, the Criminal Code level, a municipal violation of a court order, ‘a violation of a court order.’

Former police chief Peter Sloly said at the start of the protest that police would gather intelligence on protesters and pursue prosecution if necessary. In addition, agents of the Sûreté du Québec were seen with video recorders around the Chateau Laurier on Friday.

Bell says the investigation into the “Freedom Convoy” protest will be “complicated and time-consuming”.

“You have my commitment that this investigation will continue and we will hold people accountable for taking over our streets.”

Police have arrested 170 people since the operation began on Friday morning to clear protesters from downtown streets.

Police have provided the following statistics on vehicles towed, seized and licenses suspended.

  • 53 vehicles towed (46 vehicles removed from the secure area since Friday)

  • 22 license plates seized

  • 11 commercial vehicle driver registrations suspended

  • 10 penalties under Ontario’s Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act for commercial vehicles in other provinces

Mark M. Gagnon