Canada

Downtown businesses should ‘feel safe to reopen,’ Ottawa police say

There are signs life is returning to normal in Ottawa’s core today, with businesses cleared to reopen and O-Train service resuming through downtown following the three-week “Freedom Convoy” demonstration.

However, Ottawa’s interim police chief says the law enforcement operation that cleared trucks and demonstrators off several downtown streets this weekend is far from over.

“I still can’t say when we will ultimately be completing this operation because we now need to enter into a maintenance portion of it to make sure what occurred three weeks ago can never occur again,” interim chief Steve Bell said Sunday.

“We will continue to have a posture, protect the streets of our city, protect our community members from unlawful occupations … for as long as it takes.”

The area between Elgin, Bay, Wellington and Queen streets remains closed to vehicles and pedestrians, while the “secured area” remains set up to limit traffic flow into the area of the Queensway, Wellington Street, Bronson Avenue and the Rideau Canal.

Twenty-four days after the convoy rolled into the downtown core, vehicles have been cleared from Wellington Street, Bay Street, Kent Street, Lyon Street, Queen Street, Metcalfe Street and the Sir John A. Macdonald Parkway.

Police say businesses that have been closed since the demonstration began Jan. 28 “should feel safe to reopen” this week.

“A strong police presence will remain in the coming days,” police said on Twitter.

Sources tell CTV News the Rideau Centre will reopen on Tuesday. The Metropolitain Brasserie on Sussex Drive announced it would reopen at 5 p.m. Monday.

O-Train service has resumed at all downtown stations in the core today, with trains stopping at Lees, uOttawa, Rideau, Parliament and Lyon for the first time in three days.

Bell says that the OPP and RCMP remain committed to supporting Ottawa police in the days ahead to ensure no vehicles return to the Parliamentary Precinct.

“We’re not done this operation yet. There’s another phase that will identify how we maintain the streets, how we eventually demobilize, once we’ve identified there is no threat of further protests coming to our city. We aren’t there yet,” Bell said.

“We will, over the next several days, identify what the posture of the police services will look like to see how we maintain a presence and make sure that nobody returns to occupy our streets.”

As of Sunday, police said 107 people had been charged this weekend, and 389 charges had been laid related to the demonstration.

Seventy-nine vehicles have been towed since police launched the operation to clear demonstrators and vehicles from downtown streets Friday morning

SECURED AREA

Ottawa police have not said when the 100 checkpoints designed to limit traffic flow into the downtown core will be removed.

The ‘secured area’ remains set up in an area from the Queensway to Wellington Street and Bronson Avenue to the Rideau Canal area.

Police say anyone who lives, works or wants to travel through the area for reasons other than to participate in the protest will be allowed to enter.

“You will be required to show proof of exemption for your travel to the Secured Area,” police said.

ROAD CLOSURES

Exits remain closed along Hwy. 417 through the centre of Ottawa.

  • The eastbound exits on the Queensway are closed at Rochester, Kent, Metcalfe and Nicholas.
  • The westbound exits on Hwy. 417 are closed at Bronson, Metcalfe, Nicholas and Vanier Parkway.

O-TRAIN

O-Train service resumes in downtown Ottawa today for the first time in three days.

In a memo to council, Transit Services General Manager Renee Amilcar said full O-Train Line 1 service will resume from Tunney’s Pasture to Blair Station.

The O-Train has not stopped by Lees, uOttawa, Rideau, Parliament and Lyon since Thursday.




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