Skip to main content

RCMP sending more officers to help police Ottawa protest


The RCMP is sending more officers to help police the ongoing "Freedom Convoy" demonstration in downtown Ottawa, as the protest over COVID-19 vaccine mandates and other public health restrictions enters a second week.

Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino approved the city of Ottawa's request for additional RCMP resources following a phone call with Mayor Jim Watson.

"I am able to confirm that the RCMP has approved all the additional officers that were requested, and they will be ready to assist the Ottawa Police Service, who are the police of jurisdiction," Mendicino said in a statement Thursday evening.

"This request is in addition to RCMP resources and support already in place since the arrival of the convoy to Ottawa. It is important to underline that these are operational decisions taken by the police, independent of the government."

The RCMP has been part of the incident command structure policing the demonstration on Parliament Hill and downtown streets, under the jurisdiction of Ottawa police.

Earlier in the day, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau issued a fresh call for the protesters occupying downtown Ottawa to move on, while suggesting his government is unlikely to deploy the military to help end the demonstration.

"The people of Ottawa deserve to have their lives back, deserve to have their neighbourhoods back," he told reporters. "The citizens of Ottawa ... are increasingly being very vocal about the fact that this needs to stop.

"We’ve seen seniors step forward, we’ve seen young families being very, very vocal about the fact that this is absolutely unacceptable."

Trudeau added his government will look at any formal requests for military help in ending the protests, but has not received any.

“One has to be very, very cautious before deploying military in situations engaging Canadians,” he said. “As of now there have been no requests, and that is not in the cards right now.”

Ottawa's police chief had raised the possibliity of help from the military as part of ending the occupation, which is calling for an end to all COVID-19 mandates.

Canada's defence minister later tweeted that the Canadian Forces are not a police force.

"As such, there are no plans for the Canadian Armed Forces to be involved in the current situation in Ottawa in a law enforcement capacity," Anita Anand wrote.

When asked if he would consider meeting with the protesters, Trudeau demurred, saying he's focused on the mandate the government received in the last election to continue to take measures to end the pandemic.

Tamara Lich, one of the organizers of the protest, told a news conference Thursday afternoon that demonstrators plan to stay in Ottawa as long as it takes to remove all COVID-19 mandates,

"Let me assure the people of Ottawa that we have no intent to stay one day longer than necessary. Our departure will be based on the prime minister doing what is right: ending all mandates and restrictions on our freedoms."

Many of the measures the group is protesting, such as mask mandates, are provincial regulations.

Lich also said that no one from the federal, provincial, or municipal government had met with the group, instead portraying them as "racists, misogynists and even terrorists."

"The members of this freedom movement are average, peace-loving and law-abiding citizens from all walks of life who are fed up with being disrespected and bullied by our government," she said.

Organizers declined to take questions from reporters. A lawyer representing the group took two questions, but then ended the news conference when journalists attempted to ask follow-up questions about how the money from a GoFundMe campaign would be spent. The campaign has raised $10.1 million, but has since been suspended.


Ottawa police will hold a media conference Friday morning to discuss the "Freedom Convoy" demonstration, as the city braces for more people to roll into town this weekend.

Police announced that Chief Peter Sloly, Deputy Chief Steve Bell and Acting Deputy Chief Trish Ferguson will speak to the media at 9 a.m. to discuss, "increased measures to protect the safety of downtown neighbourhoods and residents."

The media conference comes one day after demonstrators appeared to be settling in for the long haul in Confederation Park, building a wooden structure and storing canisters of fuel and propane in the park blocks away from Parliament Hill. will broadcast Chief Sloly's media conference at 9 a.m. Friday.


Somerset councillor, and mayoral candidate, Catherine McKenney has written Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and RCMP Commissioner Brenda Lucki to formally request that the RCMP take over policing the hill during the "Freedom Convoy" demonstration.

"For six days and nights, residents living in downtown Ottawa continue to experience unprecedented violence on their local streets and their neighbourhoods," wrote McKenney.

McKenney wants the federal government and the RCMP to assume full operational control of Parliament Hill and the Parliamentary Precinct so Ottawa police officers can be deployed into local neighbourhoods.

"I am aware that there has been no official request from the city or the Ottawa Police Services for the RCMP to assume responsibility for the Hill, however, as the councillor for the area, I am making that official request," wrote McKenney.

On Wednesday, Ottawa police Chief Peter Sloly said the RCMP is not the "policing jurisdiction here."

"They have accepted our invitation to be part of our incident command."

Sloly said the RCMP confirmed Wednesday that additional resources will be provided to the Ottawa police operation for the protest, including additional public order units, investigators, intelligence officers and traffic control officers.

On Tuesday, Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino and the RCMP National Division said the Ottawa Police Service is the "lead policing agency" for the demonstration.


Ottawa police say they issued a host of traffic tickets and charged one person criminally on Wednesday in the ongoing 'Freedom Convoy' protests downtown.

The new charges came as the city's police chief says the service is looking at "every single option" to end the occupation of downtown Ottawa, as the protest against COVID-19 vaccine mandates and other public health measures continues.

The charges included eight for unnecessary noise (honking horns), one for transporting dangerous goods (insecure fuel cans), one for an improper muffler, and others for various driving offences such as disobeying signs, driving the wrong way, an unsafe lane change, distracted driving, speeding and running a stop sign.

One person was also criminally charged for driving while prohibited. Their vehicle was impounded for 45 days. It's the fourth person criminally charged in relation to the demonstration.

The charges were laid in the Centretown, Sandy Hill, the Glebe and the ByWard Market and Lowertown areas, police said.

On Wednesday, Ottawa's head of emergency services Kim Ayotte said bylaw had issued 115 tickets within the protest zone.

With dozens of vehicles remaining parked in front of Parliament Hill and on several streets in the downtown core, calls are getting louder from residents, businesses and politicians to end the six-day protest.

"I am increasingly concerned there is no policing solution to this," said Chief Peter Sloly on Wednesday. "And that other solutions are going to have to be considered well beyond my ability to dictate."

The chief says options being considered include a court injunction or forced removal of the demonstrators, negotiations and assistance from the military.

The leaders of the main group behind the demonstration, 'Freedom Convoy 2022,' have scheduled a news conference Thursday afternoon to "address various issues surrounding their protest"

The demonstration has closed several roads in the downtown core, and disrupted transit service.  Gatineau's STO says it will only offer a link to Ottawa via the Chaudiere Bridge.

Several businesses remain closed in the downtown core, including the Rideau Centre.  The Ottawa Public Library Main and Rideau branches will remain closed through the weekend.

Organizers of the "Freedom Convoy" released a statement on Wednesday, vowing to stay "as long as it takes" for all governments to end COVID-19 related mandates.  The convoy leaders expressed regret that residents in downtown Ottawa are "bearing this inconvenience" due to the protest.

"The responsibility for your inconvenience lies squarely on the shoulders of politicians who have prefer to vilify and call us names rather than engage in respectful, serious dialogue," said Chris Barber.

"The fastest way to get us out of the nation's Capital, is to call your elected representatives and end all C-19 mandates."

Ottawa police said Wednesday they are anticipating the protest will grow again this weekend as more demonstrators return to the capital.


A tractor convoy is being planned from Alexandria to Ottawa on Saturday to show support for the truckers involved in the "Freedom Convoy."

According to the Facebook Group "Farmer Convoy to Ottawa 2.0", the convoy will depart Alexandria at 6 a.m. and travel to Ottawa.

The group had 1,900 followers as of Wednesday evening.


Ottawa police say 25 active investigations continue into the protest on Parliament Hill and downtown streets.

Late Wednesday, police asked the public for help identifying a suspect in the desecration of the National War Memorial.

Three people have been charged in connection to the demonstration.

The price tag for the six days of policing the protest is now $3 million and climbing.

“At some point we will be turning to the federal and municipal governments for support to offset these significant and growing costs,” said Blair Dunker, chief administrative officer for OPS.

- with files from CTV National News Top Stories

Stay Connected