Toronto Police Closing Queen’s Park Circle Immediately Ahead of Potential Vehicle Protest

Police say that they are closing Queen’s Park Circle in response to several social media posts regarding a potential demonstration involving “a large number of vehicles.”

The precaution comes after one of the organizers of the ‘Freedom Convoy’ in Ottawa posted a video to Tik Tok on Tuesday night, in which he claimed that some participants would be travelling to Toronto to continue their demonstration.

There has so far been no indication of truckers involved in the Ottawa protest actually leaving the nation’s capital and many involved have previously indicated that they plan to stay in the area around Parliament for a prolonged period.

“What we’re doing right now is actually preparing ourselves and essentially getting a footprint so we have officers in place,” Insp. Michael Williams told reporters on Wednesday afternoon. “We’ve seen demonstrations right across the province, particularly in Ottawa and Windsor, and I certainly don’t think based on what we have seen that we can take this lightly.”

Hundreds of large vehicles have been illegally parked on downtown Ottawa streets for nearly two weeks now as part of a demonstration against vaccine mandates and other public health measures to limit the spread of COVID-19.

A similar protest has also partially blocked traffic along the Ambassador Bridge in Windsor in recent days, resulting in significant delays.

Speaking with reporters on Wednesday afternoon, Williams said that the decision to close Queen’s Park Circle for the second time this week is being made “out of an abundance of caution” rather than any specific threats.

But he emphasized that the police response is “scalable” and that additional road closures can be implemented should they be required.

Last week police closed several downtown arteries ahead of a convoy protest, including a portion of University Avenue.

“We’re not looking for any type of confrontation. But we certainly do have plans in place if there is criminality,” Williams said.

CONSERVATIVE PARTY OF ONTARIO RELEASES STATEMENT

Solidarity protests involving large vehicles have been taking place across Canada over the last week, prompting concerns about occupations of public arteries similar to the one in Ottawa.

In a statement released on Wednesday afternoon, Mayor John Tory said that while “peaceful, respectful protests are an important part of the Canadian way of life we cannot accept a state of affairs which sees one group’s rights exercised in a way that rolls over the rights of others.”

To that end, Tory said that he supports police doing everything they can to “avoid the situations we have seen in other cities.”

“Balance is a necessity and will hopefully guide us to the right place in these complicated matters,” he said.

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