Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson has hailed the police crackdown on Freedom Convoy anti-warrant protesters in the Canadian capital.
After the protests ended, he told state media that trucks, trailers, and vehicles seized from protesters should be sold, saying Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s controversial emergency powers allowed him to do so.
As of Saturday, police had towed 53 vehicles from downtown streets since the movement began Friday to remove them, some of which had been occupying the area for three full weeks.
Mayor Watson confirmed that he’d like to see seized vehicles sold to help the city cover the costs incurred due to the convoy.
“We actually have the ability to confiscate those vehicles and sell them,” he said.
“And I want to see them sold,” the mayor continued. “I don’t want the return to these people who’ve been causing such frustration and angst in our community.”
The mayor told that Ottawa has that power due to the Emergencies Act, which was invoked by the federal government last week.
Watson said he’s been pleased by the level of professionalism shown by law enforcement since officers began stepping up their efforts Friday to clear the protest. But he also said he worries about demonstrators who have been “taunting police, being completely irresponsible, and don’t want to seem to leave.”
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It’s not clear when or how exactly the city would put this into place, although Watson suggested that it is both possible and legal.
In a tweet, Ottawa Police made no mention of the city keeping hold of cars or trucks but warned that towed vehicles would be impounded for seven days.
East of downtown, protesters could be seen taking down part of the supply camp they’d set up in a Coventry Road parking lot next to the city-run baseball stadium.
By evening, much of the camp was gone, although some protesters told CBC they planned to regroup elsewhere.