Ottawa residents are relieved when police put down protests
After 22 days of honking horns and diesel fumes, some Ottawa residents are expressing relief after police began clearing protesters from downtown.
“It was very difficult,” a frustrated Ottawan told CTV News. “It was the worst three weeks of the entire pandemic for me.”
“Walking in my neighborhood here is quite difficult,” said another. “Mainly because the air quality is absolutely terrible with diesel engines and trucks running all the time.”
Still, many protesters remained undaunted by the police crackdown, which began Friday.
“You know how it feels to go on a package vacation?” said a supporter. “That’s how downtown was.”
Civil servant Zexi Li is leading a proposed class action lawsuit over alleged damages caused by the COVID-19 authorization protests. On 7 February, the 21-year-old was able to secure a court order to remain silent by repeatedly honking his whistle.
“I don’t think people knew how terrible it was before we got the order,” she told CTV News. “It was really a torture by noise. They laughed at us for keeping us at night, but they didn’t care because of their right to take our place. “
The lawsuit is currently seeking more than $300 million in damages. On Thursday, an Ontario judge froze up to $20 million in cash and cryptocurrency tied to the protest movement.
“What this convoy is really doing is holding businesses and people hostage to get the government to give in to their demands,” lead attorney Paul Champ told CTV News. “It’s wrong and against the law and we’ll look into it.”
Local businesses say it will take time to recover from a three-week hiatus.
“Family weekend is one of the top weekends,” restaurateur John Borsten told CTV News. “I’m talking hundreds and hundreds of thousands of dollars in lost revenue, which means tens of thousands of lost tips and wages for all employees.”
“Hopefully things will work out and everything will be back to normal,” restaurant manager Johnny Bonney said. “There’s a lot to look forward to.”
Set up to deter further protesters, the many police checkpoints in downtown Ottawa are likely to continue to plague commuters’ lives for a while.
“It goes on forever, and to be honest with you, I’m tired of it,” one frustrated driver told CTV News as the traffic jammed.