FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
PRESS RELEASE: Horizon Ottawa condemns police response, inaction of Mayor in protecting downtown residents during dangerous incidents due to weekend protests
OTTAWA - Horizon Ottawa is condemning the response from the Ottawa Police and the inaction of Mayor Jim Watson over the dangerous, often violent incidents that took place and continue to take place as a result of the “Freedom Convoy” protests. According to social media and news accounts, there were dozens of violent incidents that occurred including: the homes of downtown residents being vandalized for having Pride flags, harassment of journalists, unhoused people and small business owners and the presence of hateful symbols like swastikas.
“Some of the things endured by downtown residents, especially those facing the most social and economic barriers, were absolutely reprehensible and never should have occurred.” Said Sam Hersh, Board Member of Horizon Ottawa. “Despite calls for immediate action from residents, next to nothing has been done to make our communities safe.”
Horizon Ottawa also put out a statement earlier this weekend, showing concern over local response to increase police presence. They also mentioned the response from police welcoming the convoy to Ottawa, seemingly not acknowledging significant elements of the far-right that exist within the convoy. The organization also brought up concerns over the difference in reaction that police have had with protests around police violence in recent years.
“It’s clear that the Ottawa Police are interested in protecting some communities but not others.” Said Hersh. “We know folks want to be safe, but if anything, this event has shown us that Police cannot and are not willing to do that. After this is all over, the City needs to take a long hard look at the role and future of police in our city.”
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