Trucker convoy protesters slammed for urinating on war memorials in Ottawa
The now-infamous trucker convoy that last week made its way through Canada to protest specific vaccine mandates is now firmly camped out in Ottawa, where the streets have exploded into melee alongside several planned "freedom rallies" in the nation's capital.
Protesters started descending upon Parliament Hill by the thousands on Saturday, many of them carrying signs (some bearing hate symbols) and chanting for an end to all COVID-19 lockdown measures, as well as Premier Justin Trudeau's resignation.
Some participants and supporters also took it upon themselves, apparently, to do some redecorating in downtown Ottawa by desecrating a statue of Terry Fox, parking on the grounds of the national Cenotaph and urinating on multiple war memorials.
While initially meant to be a peaceful demonstration, the protest appears to have grown far beyond what organizers had planned for; truck drivers and their supporters have now spent an entire weekend partying, blaring horns and otherwise disturbing peace to the point that cops in Ottawa were forced to shut down entire city blocks.
On Saturday afternoon, all streets within the capital's downtown core were closed off to traffic on account of gridlock.
Police continue to ask everyone to avoid downtown Ottawa as of Monday morning ahead of yet another planned rally coinciding with Parliament's return to sitting after the winter break.
"Police are aware that many demonstrators have announced their intention to stay in place. This will continue to cause major traffic, noise and safety issues in the downtown core," wrote the Ottawa Police Service in a statement issued Sunday evening.
"Police have avoided ticketing and towing vehicle so as not to instigate confrontations with demonstrators. Still, confrontations and the need for de-escalation has regularly been required."
People desecrating war memorials, defacing a Terry Fox statue, stealing food from soup kitchens and waving Canadian flags covered in swastikas have been treated with more respect than people who are actually being oppressed. Consider why that might be pic.twitter.com/iJcNV6WRc1— Cadence Weapon (@cadenceweapon) January 31, 2022
The service is currently estimating the cost of policing the protest at $800,000 a day — and that doesn't include business losses, social costs or property damage.
Costs are only expected to rise as police conduct criminal investigations into acts of threatening, illegal behaviour, damage to a city vehicle and the desecration of at least two national monuments in Ottawa.
"Several criminal investigations are underway in relation to the desecration of the National War Memorial/Terry Fox statue," announced the force on Saturday.
"Illegal behaviour will not be tolerated and will be fully investigated. We have investigative and evidence-gathering teams in place to support the management of the demonstration. We cannot take reports through social media. Incidents must be reported to police."
Let's Catch this guy! Share! pic.twitter.com/RiAbUweJhd— Ms Harmony ツ (@Ms_Harmony58) January 30, 2022
People are over Canada have been horrified to learn of extremists defacing such memorials as the Terry Fox statue, which at one point was adorned with anti-mandate and anti-Trudeau signs, are well as an upside-down Canadian flag.
I’m the Mayor of Terry Fox’s hometown. He’s our city’s hero, national inspiration and an unifier. Whatever your cause, you don’t get to appropriate his legacy and you don’t touch his statue. Ever. This should be removed immediately. @ottawacity @JimWatsonOttawa https://t.co/Souo0BodaJ— Brad West (@BradWestPoCo) January 29, 2022
While some argue that the statue was merely given "some props," others, including the mayor of Fox's hometown, are furious over what many see as an act of disrespect.
it’s a memorial for someone who did something incredible, NOT a place for signs about “freedom”. this will not get you any closer to lifting mandates, just do your part and follow the rules like a decent human being.— rachel (@4r41n4) January 30, 2022
What cannot be misconstrued as a well-intentioned act of protest is urinating on the National War Memorial...
Residents of Ottawa, and Canadians in general, don't approve acts like this. Just in case #TruckersForFreedom2022 think they have literally freedom to pee anywhere they please. https://t.co/UOkF2zGDa3— Be Smart | Pandemic Is Real (@NoToHateMongers) January 30, 2022
Urinating on the National Aboriginal Veterans' Memorial...
And the National Monument and the National Aboriginal Veterans Memorial pic.twitter.com/pRpRQ2FQ64— Chris (@ChrisNish_) January 31, 2022
Urinating all over the place in general...
Dancing on the Tomb of the Unknown Solider...
Here’s a screen cap of the person stomping on the Tomb. The tomb means everything to me. My dad, myself and daughter (Royal Marine, Navy and Navy members) were part of the honour guard the day they brought him home. I died a little today when I saw this. pic.twitter.com/cC7B3U1TKn— Polly Math (@PollyMath1) January 30, 2022
Or parking on the hallowed grounds of the Cenotaph.
parking at our National War Memorial the tomb of the unknown soldier where Corporal Nathan Cirillo was gunned down by a lone wolf far-right extremist sums up this entire f*cking BS rally. GO HOME YOU BUNCH OF LOSERS! you show disrespect for our war dead & veterans🇨🇦 #OttawaConvoy pic.twitter.com/xCx6Dyyw25— Zander Doyle 🏳️🌈 (@zandoyle_) January 29, 2022
The actions of those defacing monuments have been widely decried by people on all sides of the political spectrum.
"The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier was built to remember and honour those who dedicated their lives in service for Canadians — not to desecrate and urinate on," tweeted federal NDP leader Jagmeet Singh on Sunday.
"Claiming to be fighting for freedom while disrespecting those who lost their lives fighting for our freedom is despicable."
"I support the right to peacefully protest but that should not be confused with blatant disrespect for the men and women who have served, inspired, and protected our country," wrote Conservative leader Erin O'Toole similarly.
"The individuals desecrating these memorials should be ashamed and their behaviour undermines the brave Canadians who have sacrificed for our country."
The Legion strongly condemns those who jumped on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and disrespected the National War Memorial on Saturday.— The Royal Canadian Legion (@RoyalCdnLegion) January 29, 2022
The site commemorates those who fought and fell for the very freedoms that allow the right to protest peacefully and respectfully. pic.twitter.com/3pDfD5zIjY
"The OPS and our partners continue to focus on keeping the peace in and around the demonstrations and maintaining emergency access lanes while addressing any threatening high-risk behaviour," said police in Ottawa on Sunday.
"National monuments will be protected and should be respected by all. Barricades are installed to block any vehicular access to the path in front of the National War Memorial."
Some are questioning why the memorial wasn't barricaded in the first place, though it stands to reason that police might not have expected protesters to do such vile things.
While plausible, the latter is unlikely.
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