The Ottawa Police Service released a statement this morning where they detailed that they were launching "enhanced intelligence operations and investigations" against freedom convoy participants.
The city's downtown core has been gridlocked by protestors who aim to pressure the prime minister into removing federal mandates.
The statement reads that the enhanced measures were launched in collaboration with "National, provincial and local intelligence agencies" who have "increased efforts to identify and target protestors who are funding/supporting/enabling unlawful and harmful activity by protestors.
"Investigative evidence-gathering teams are collecting financial, digital, vehicle registration, driver identification, insurance status, and other related evidence that will be used in criminal prosecutions.
"Every unlawful act, including traffic violations, will be fully pursued regardless of origin."
The statement says that these measures were due to knowledge that additional demonstrators would come over the weekend, and that they would crack down on "unlawful acts, including harassment, mischief, hate crimes, and noise violations."
According to Marieke Walsh of the Globe and Mail, Police say they are "working with police agencies across Ontario, the RCMP, Sûreté du Quebec, and federal intelligence agencies. Homeland Security and the FBI are also helping with an investigation into online threats that originated from the US."
Police also announced that they have added approximately 150 additional uniformed and non-uniformed officers dedicated to only patrolling and addressing unlawful and threatening conduct in the most impacted neighbourhoods including: Centretown, Sandy Hill, Lowertown and the Byward Market.
"This includes working with City and NCR officials to prevent unlawful and unsafe use of public space by demonstrators."
Other measures they will implement, as per a press release, include:
"Expand and harden perimeter of the demonstration red zone: The Ottawa Police Service and City of Ottawa will be utilizing concrete and heavy equipment barricades to create no-access roadways throughout the downtown core. The City of Ottawa will be releasing a map of impacted roads later today. Protestor vehicles will be directed to designated parking zones outside of the downtown core. Illegal parking by demonstrators will result in by-law enforcement, removal and impound. If necessary, interprovincial bridges, highway off ramps and/or roads will be closed.
"Enforcement directives: The surge of police officers will result in enforcement to restore public safety. This includes increased investigation enforcement and charges for all criminal acts related hate, harassment, assaults (including spitting), intimidation, and mischief.
"The primary focus of each of these measures will be on the unlawful behaviour connected to the ongoing demonstrations (including parallel and counter demonstrations)," they write.
"We strongly urge all demonstrators and those engaging with demonstrators to act lawfully, peacefully and respectfully."
"The hatred, violence, and illegal acts that Ottawa residents and businesses have endured over the last week is unacceptable in any circumstance. The Ottawa Police Service and the City of Ottawa are bringing significantly greater resources to restore order, hold offenders to account and protect our neighbourhoods.
"The current occupation of the Parliamentary Precinct remains unresolved despite significant success in reducing the number of trucks/demonstrators while preventing riots, injuries and death. We take no solace in these operational successes," police write.
"The demonstrators in this red zone area remain highly organized, well-funded, and extremely committed to resisting efforts to end the demonstration safely. This remains a very volatile and very dangerous demonstration."
Thursday, convoy organizer Tamara Lich held a press conference along with lawyer Keith Wilson, where they announced that they were "confident that GoFundMe has all information needed to lift suspension placed on campaign," and that they expected to hear back from the platform soon.
"The Ottawa Police Service continues to work with the national security agencies, the RCMP, the OPP and other police agencies. We are also working with all three levels of government, to affect a safe, timely and lawful end to this unlawful and unacceptably dangerous demonstration.
"Public safety remains paramount as does our commitment to work with all levels of government and all parts of civil society to bring this demonstration to an end."
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