Life goes on. Three weeks of occupation and siege by a pack of misinformed nutbars and alt-right white nationalists in trucks and pick up trucks, harassment of residents, desecration of monuments, shut down of a city core and many of its businesses, persistent tension, demands that were at time sounding like sedition, and the glaring noise of truck horns (especially that insufferable asshole (or assholes) whose truck horn sounds like a train whistle) have come to an end in Ottawa.
I posted about it earlier in the month when I was at a really bad point.
The "freedom convoy" as they called themselves, a hostile pack of fools in trucks and pick ups came into Ottawa at the end of January and took possession of the city core. They were organized by white supremacists and western separatists like Tamara Lich and Pat King- vile, despicable, repugnant excuses for human beings- and they had the gall to call themselves patriots and heroes and to say they were fighting for the country. They were angry about mandates in the fight about Covid- the vast majority of which are provincial in nature, and which are gradually coming to an end anyway. They were angry about the prime minister- which is a generational thing, since their daddies hated his daddy back in the day. They were just plain angry. And dumb. Really, really dumb.
That first weekend, Confederate flags and the swastika were seen. Trumpist slogans, adapted or otherwise (including the "Let's Go Brandon" nonsense and "Make Canada Proud Again"), were seen throughout the occupation. As a resident of the downtown, it infuriated me. Days on end without decent sleep because of goddamned idiots honking their horns at any and all hours. Yes, we were under siege by a hostile force, occupying our city and painting themselves as being in the right, all while being led around like the puppets they are by fucking scum like King and Lich- not to mention those who were funding the whole enterprise.
They called themselves peaceful protesters. Peaceful protests aren't like this. Peaceful protesters come, say their piece, and go. They don't hold a city hostage. Nor do their members tote symbols of hate or display signs calling for the deaths of a prime minister or others. Nor do they call for a government to be overthrown, a party abolished from existence, or democracy to be subverted. Those were all things coming our way from the "freedom convoy."
Freedom. A word they defiled, because their concept of freedom is and always was freedom from responsibility. Something I said in my previous post and stand by. They desecrate the country by claiming to be fighting for freedom. You want to look at those who fought for freedom and their country and the betterment of the world?
Heroes and patriots don't go hand in hand with white nationalists and those who want to separate from the country. No, these people are not heroes, patriots, or freedom fighters. They're gullible rubes, misguided idiots, and yes... some of them are hate mongering bigots who wholeheartedly agree with the white nationalists who strung them along.
They occupied our city. Residents reported frequent harassment and bad behaviour. Nerves were frayed. The cops seemed to stand by and effectively do nothing. The mayor fretted and did nothing. The police chief (former) seemed to think they'd just go away on their own accord.
But no, they didn't. Because they had their mission: end the mandates, to hell with science, doctors, facts, reason, logic. In short: stupid.
They screamed bloody murder about their demands to meet with the prime minister. Why should he have? A protest that's illegal in the first place, demanding irrational things like the resignation of the PM or the overthrow of the government in general?
These are not the sort of people any political leader should meet with.
In the last days of the occupation, I took some shots downtown. I tried to make a point to not engage any of these people after the early days of the occupation. Throughout the occupation I'd come to hate them. To the point where homicide felt justifiable. If I was having such dark thoughts, it would not surprise me if others felt the same way.
The city resisted in its own way. People started photographing trucks and posting them online, including at a site called Convoy Traitors. Negative reviews were left at company websites. Insurance companies were informed that truckers were engaged in this nonsense. Senior citizens trapped at home were assisted by neighbours in getting groceries. A class action lawsuit was started by residents of the downtown core against the organizers and the movement as a whole. An injunction was made banning the trucks from honking their horns for a few days- and subsequently ignored. GoFundMe froze the efforts to fund the occupation- rightly understanding that this had turned into criminal actions. Posters and stickers went up on street poles expressing a common opinion.
The chief of police resigned deep into the occupation. He was probably an effective administrator, but out of his depth on this. He no doubt honestly thought that they'd just go away on their own, and had no real plan in place for the alternative. This needed someone in charge with a street cop mentality and an ability to plan a proper response. It also required coordination with the multitude of police agencies who had come in to reinforce the Ottawa Police. An interim chief of police was designated for the job.
The prime minister invoked the rarely used Emergencies Act. Occupiers were warned for several days in advance to depart. Some of them had their kids with them. Not the best of scenarios if you had to employ tear gas. Effectively speaking, these kids were human shields- and will grow up to be as ignorant as their parents, unfortunately. The occupiers had every opportunity to depart on their own. Scum like Pat King told them in person and in his online, fact-deprived addresses, to 'hold the line'. Among his other remarks were threats to the prime minister and other officials.
Late last week you could feel the police presence building in the city. Masses of police on foot in the downtown core. Lots of police cars from multiple jurisdictions making their way around. Word started getting around that the downtown core was ideally to be avoided on the weekend as things were going to start getting underway. Finally the police were doing their jobs. Pat King announced that he was going out to the east coast- a bloody lie, since what he was actually doing was running like the gutless coward he is. The city waited.
And then after days of warning to get out, the police started tightening the perimeter in the core and initiating their operation against the occupiers.
After three weeks.
Multiple arrests and fines. The police moving in strength, yes- but not deadly force. There was a report of an altercation with a police horse and the use of non-lethal weapons- but those were the exception. The local detention centre would no doubt have seen a lot of intake last weekend, and after that point, with the occupiers cleared out, the clean up of the core began with the removal of any remaining trucks that had been idle for weeks.
At some point over the weekend I saw a vile, tear filled video clip put out by Tamara Lich- before she and one of the other organizers got arrested and charged. She dialed back on the threats to the PM. And she had the gall to quote the words of Jesus Christ- effectively trying to elevate herself to that level- in what she was saying. I was beyond disgusted- and bear in mind that I'm not religious. My reaction to it is summed up in a meme I made below: God really needed to send down some lightning her way.
She got arrested. So did Pat King. As of this writing they're both still in custody. Other participants have been released on bail and told not to come back to the city. The truckers involved are facing heavy fines, and no doubt a lot of hard questions from their insurers and the banks who they make payments to for their trucks. In a few months, they'll be on the dole, out of work... and they'll have no one to blame for this stupidity but themselves. And the dirtbag white nationalists who sent them here.
They, and their supporters, have talked about freedom and are using the terms tyranny, dictatorship, fascist, and communist to refer to the government and the PM in general, both during and after the occupation.
Which is dismaying, because as always, those who use those terms online have no real idea what they mean.
If this were tyranny, a show of police strength would have involved lethal force. Police would have put bullets into heads. Children would have been caught in the crossfire. Hundreds of people would be dead.
No, this was democracy responding to an unlawful protest. One that had held a city hostage for weeks on end. This was democracy responding to a movement that wanted to overturn democracy.
Freedom involves responsibility. And when you do something incredibly foolish like this, there are consequences.
The words of a former Liberal leader and present representative of the country to the UN speak volumes.
As of this writing the Emergencies Act has been set aside. There are some truckers still in outlying areas- truck stops and farms outside of the city areas. Are they dumb enough to try coming back in? Police still maintain control of the area around Parliament Hill, and their presence in the city is still felt. But last weekend as events unfolded and it became clear that the occupation was being brought to an end, a lot of the tensions lifted.
The wounds remain. A lot of people in the downtown core in particular are going to remember all of this for a long time to come. For me, personally, I will never forget it. Nor will I forgive. Citizens of my own country betrayed that country by occupying my hometown and harassing the residents of that city. One of their goals was the overthrowing of the government. I am disgusted by their behaviour. And I will have no empathy at all over the coming weeks and months as they find themselves back at home, facing bankruptcy because of the catastrophic stupidity of their own actions.
To hell with them.