Ottawa’s acting police chief, Steve Bell, has issued a stern warning to protesters, saying law enforcement is ready to end what he calls the three-week illegal occupation of downtown Ottawa.
“Action is imminent,” Bell communicated to the protesters at a press conference Thursday afternoon.
“It’s time to leave. Your time in our city has come to an end and you must leave.”
A large number of officers from several agencies moved into the downtown area in an attempt to stop the protests.
A large security area with nearly 100 police checkpoints has been established in the area between Bronson Avenue, Highway 417, Parliament Hill and the Rideau Canal, Bell said. The perimeter is intended to ensure that only people who live, work or have a valid reason, such as a doctor’s appointment downtown, are allowed through, he added.
“We want people to leave peacefully. But I can tell you that if they don’t leave peacefully, we have plans, strategies and tactics to be able to get them to leave,” Bell said.
Throughout Thursday, police continued to issue formal warnings to protesters to leave, and the city’s acting police chief said an end to the 21-day illegal occupation of downtown streets was a matter of time, not a possibility.
The city’s interim police chief said ending the 21-day illegal occupation of downtown streets is a matter of time, not a possibility.
“Only people with legitimate reasons to enter the core, such as residents, businesses and others with legitimate reasons, will be allowed in the area,” Bell told the Ottawa Police Services Board earlier today.
“Illegal protesters must leave the area and will not be allowed access.”