PRESS RELEASE: Over 50 organizations calls on City to support the right to protest following Police and By-law crackdowns


OTTAWA - Speakers from various local organizations advocated for a mutual goal: to demand the city uphold the right to protest in response to over $23,000 worth in tickets leveraged against activists and protesters in recent months. 

Striking workers and union members have also signed on after facing increased police surveillance and arrests. 

Yamikani Msosa; Executive Director of Ottawa Coalition to End Violence Against Women 


In recent months, Ottawa By-law and Ottawa Police Service have ramped up tickets for megaphone use against Queer and Trans defence protesters, picketers and those protesting the federal government's policies on Palestine, including Ottawa Centre MPP Joel Harden. 

Approximately 48 noise violation tickets have been issued to many of these groups in the last three months alone.  Community organizer Emily Quaile, ticketed at a Queer and Trans defence rally in February, describes the experience of being silenced via By-law 2017-255:

“Throughout 2023, we have defended schools and school boards, indoor and outdoor events, and countered multiple hateful rallies, without one ticket being issued. It was only after dozens of tickets were issued to Pro-Palestinian organizers that trans rights supporters received fines for using a megaphone.” said Emily Quaile, an organizer with Communinty Solidarity Ottawa. “These unjust enforcements and escalations of hostility follow a frightening global trend of police crackdown on justice and labour movements. It is essential that by-law and police do not penalize us for using megaphones to help us safely exercise our Charter right to protest.”

The coalition insists that protestors at any rally must have the opportunity to exercise freedom of expression without fear of being financially penalized.  The Defend the Right to Dissent Coalition, made up of 50+ community groups, unions and businesses, calls on the City of Ottawa to amend Noise By-law No. 2017-255 Section 4(5) which currently limits use of sound reproduction devices in public. They are also calling on city council to provide a recommendation that the $23,000 in fines be immediately waived. 

Many community members simply cannot afford the financial burden of a nearly $500 ticket that should not have been given in the first place.

In addition to the cost, community members are speaking out against intimidation tactics used by By-law, like following protesters to their cars or showing up at their homes. Hakima Moktary, Ottawa resident and mother, shared the impact this had on her and her family

“The officer came at about 5:30 pm [to give me a ticket for using a megaphone],” said Hakima Mokarty, an Ottawa resident who was ticketed for using a megaphone at a Palestine solidarity protest. “My 12 year old daughter saw him, and came to tell me that a police officer was at our doorstep. She was scared and asked me ‘are they going to take you to jail?’” 

Annie Yeo, Vice President  President of Canadian Association of Professional Employees; Callie Metler, Executive Director Capital Pride; Sarah Abdul-Karim, Member of Palestinian Youth Movement,  Nate Prier, President of Canadian Association of Professional Employees; Representative; Canadian Union of Professional Employees; Sam Hersh, Horizon Ottawa; Alex Silas, Vice President NCR Public Service Alliance of Canada; Casthon Perry, YCL; Representative, ACORN Ottawa; Josh Lalonde, Labour4Palestine; Elizabeth Houlding Justice4Workers Ottawa; Yamikani Msosa; Executive Director of Ottawa Coalition to End Violence Against Women; Vince Nogueira, Horizon Ottawa; Debbie Owusu-Akeyah; Executive Director of The Canadian Centre for Gender & Sexual Diversity (CCGSD)


Community advocates insist a change to this by-law is critical for upholding freedom of expression and the right to protest. While it will take some work from city council, action is necessary to ensure residents of the city can have their voices heard in a safe and respectful way.; We must Defend the Right to Dissent!


For Media Inquiries:


Elizabeth Houlding
[email protected]



Sam Hersh
[email protected]

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