Ottawa police prepare as convoy protesting vaccine mandate heads to nation’s capital

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Ottawa police are preparing for the arrival this weekend of a massive convoy of protesters opposed to pandemic public health measures — but they say they don’t know how big the event will be or how long the protesters might stay.

The ‘Freedom Rally’ convoy includes transport truck operators from across the country and members of groups broadly opposed to public health mandates. Its participants are planning to stage a protest on Parliament Hill against the federal government’s vaccination mandate for all cross-border drivers, which came into effect earlier this month.

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“As with any large demonstration, there will be unique and asymmetric elements that are impossible to predict and challenging to manage,” Ottawa Police Acting Deputy Chief Trish Ferguson told a special meeting of the Ottawa Police Services Board Wednesday afternoon.

Police say they don’t know exactly when the convoy could arrive in the city, how long the protests could last or what each group participating in the convoy has planned.

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