The announcement of the hotline occurred days after the “Freedom Convoy” of truckers arrived in Ottawa. What started as a truckers protest about the vaccination mandate requiring truckers entering Canada to be fully vaccinated or face testing and quarantine requirements. evolved into a wider protest of Covid-19 restrictions and snowballed into a blockade of the city and the obstruction of a US-Canadian border crossing.
As anti-semitism re-emerges as a societal issue, Ottowa has established a hate incident hotline, designated for reports of criminal activity, threats, assaults, and hate-related crimes for the remainder of the Truckers protest. It is set to go live within the next 24 hours. The Ottowa Police tweeted on Sunday that there were several criminal investigations in relation to the desecration of the National War Memorial, threatening, illegal, and intimidating behaviour to police and/or city workers and other individuals, and damage to a city vehicle.
Monday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, announced he and his family contracted Covid-19. He was unable to attend the ‘protests’ to speak to his citizens directly. Trudeau and his family have been quarantined at an undisclosed location, but he had fierce words for those causing violence stating on Monday, “I want to be very clear: We are not intimidated by those who hurl insults and abuse at small business workers and steal food from the homeless,” he said. “We won’t give in to those who fly racist flags. We won’t cave to those who engage in vandalism or dishonor the memory of our veterans. Canadians were shocked and frankly disgusted by the behavior displayed by some people protesting in our nation’s capital.”
The Prime Minister’s attempt to simmer the crowd didn’t seem to ease the tensions. The Mayor of Ottawa, Jim Watson, stated later that Monday, “Police are negotiating with organizers of the protests”. Despite below-freezing temperatures, photos have shown supporters joining the convoy of truckers on foot or greeting them with Canadian flags on bridges and highway overpasses. The Ottawa Police said, there is a range of disruptive, inappropriate, and threatening behavior from the protesters. It is estimated by the agency that the financial costs of policing around the demonstrations will be more than $800,000 a day. Downtown residents and workers not involved with the protests are intimidated and fearful of what else is to come.