Ottawa’s police chief was ousted Tuesday amid criticism of his inaction against the trucker protests that have paralyzed Canada’s capital for two weeks, while the number of blockades maintained by demonstrators at the U.S. border dropped to just one, the Associated Press reports. Chief Peter Sloly lost his job after failing to move decisively against the bumper-to-bumper demonstration by hundreds of truck drivers. The protests by the so-called Freedom Convoy have infuriated residents, who have complained of being harassed and intimidated on the streets. The developments came a day after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau invoked Canada’s Emergencies Act and threatened to take tough legal and financial measures to end the unrest in Ottawa and beyond by protesters decrying Canada's COVID-19 restrictions and Trudeau’s government.
Sloly said he did everything possible to keep the city safe, calling it an “unprecedented and unforeseeable crisis.” Ottawa’s police board said 360 vehicles remained involved in the blockade in the city’s core, down from a high of 4,000. A command center was set up so that the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and the Ontario Provincial Police could assume command over the situation, apparently relegating Ottawa police to a secondary role. Wayne Narvey said he took a leap of faith a week ago and drove his 30-year-old motor home from New Brunswick through a snowstorm to get to the capital. “They can take our bank accounts, they can freeze our assets, they can take the insurance off our vehicles,” he said. “They can play all the games they want. We’re not leaving.” The Emergencies Act allows the government to ban the blockades and begin towing away trucks. Officials said it forbids bringing children to illegal protest sites. Authorities have said the faceoff has posed problems because of the presence of children.