We salute the work of all RCMP officers, including our members from C Division.
The Quebec Mounted Police Members’ Association salutes its members, as well as more than 250 RCMP officers from C Division who joined other law enforcement agencies over the past month to counter the so-called “Freedom Convoy” occupation on Parliament Hill and downtown Ottawa, finally bringing calm after peacefully clearing more than 500 trucks and hundreds of illegal protestors.
“It was definitely a team effort that involved patience and tactical experience at all levels,” said QMPMA president Serge Bilodeau, who himself spent three weeks in Ottawa as part of a C Division unit brought in to assist Ottawa Police and the Ontario Provincial Police. “All law enforcement agencies on the ground worked together to protect the people and businesses in Ottawa and helped bring this illegal occupation to an end. I am very proud of our members for their hard work and dedication.”
On February 20, the streets surrounding Parliament Hill were finally free of protesters and trucks for the first time since January 28, after police cleared out the last of the so-called Freedom Convoy truckers who occupied the nation’s capital to oppose the country’s COVID-era restrictions.
During a three-day operation, between Feb. 17 and 20, Ottawa police – assisted by scores of other police agencies, including the RCMP — deployed pepper spray and stun grenades to disperse crowds, towed away over 70 vehicles, and arrested 191 people, bringing a total of 389 charges against 103 of them. Three of the protest’s key organizers were arrested and charged with “mischief,” and two of them are now out on bail. As of Feb. 21, police made 196 arrests and seized 115 vehicles. Of those arrested, 110 were charged with various offences, including:
- Disobey Lawful Court Order
- Obstruct/Resist a Peace Officer
- Mischief Obstruct Property
- Cause disturbance by Fighting/Shouting/Swearing
- Assault Police
- Dangerous Operation Motor Vehicle
- Possess Weapon
On Twitter, Ottawa Police accused protesters of assaulting officers and attempting to remove officers’ weapons as police faced off with protesters.
“Protesters are assaulting officers, have attempted to remove officers’ weapons. All means of de-escalation have been used to move forward in our goal of returning Ottawa to its normalcy,” read the tweet.
The clearing of the capital came days after the RCMP ordered a freeze on 206 bank and corporate accounts managing millions in funds related to the protests. The RCMP also flagged 253 Bitcoin addresses and forbid local crypto exchanges from facilitating transactions with the accounts.
While quiet has returned to Ottawa streets after three weeks of horn blaring by truck-driving protesters, the fallout of the nearly month-long saga will likely take longer to address. Ottawa’s mayor estimated the occupation will have cost the city $30 million. Downtown, police and barricades replaced protesters and trucks and, across the country, politicians and citizens are confronting the divide in civil society left in the wake of the departing demonstrators.
The brigade of truck-driving protesters from across Canada first converged in Ottawa on Jan. 28, occupying various streets around the nation’s capital. The protest began in opposition to the government’s introduction of a mandate requiring all cross-border truck drivers to be vaccinated against COVID-19.