Protest by Dutch farmers: ‘Slow roll’ demonstration in Ottawa on Saturday
Vehicles and pedestrians carrying Canadian and Dutch flags converged on the streets of downtown Ottawa on Saturday afternoon, expressing solidarity with farmers protesting against new government environmental regulations in the Netherlands.
Freedom Fighters Canada held the ‘We Move as One’ protest in cities across the country, including a ‘slow roll’ convoy to Ottawa and a protest outside the Dutch Embassy a few blocks from the Hill of Parliament.
Ottawa police say a person was arrested for obstruction and public mischief after a ‘large and uncooperative group of vehicles attempted to enter downtown, disrupted the steady flow of traffic in various parts of the city and refused to leave ».
Police said officers were deployed downtown to monitor vehicle movements, temporarily closing freeway exit ramps. 417 in the downtown area and enforce the “vehicle exclusion zone” which prohibits vehicles from parking or stopping near Parliament Hill.
The Ottawa regulations say 103 parking tickets were issued inside the temporary prohibition zoneand 12 vehicles were towed.
Dozens of vehicles took part in the « slow » convoy along the highway. 417 in the city center, where hundreds of people demonstrated in front of the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands on Albert Street. Farmers in the Netherlands have staged a series of demonstrations to protest the Dutch government’s new environmental targets.
« The government is trying to bankrupt all these family farms, » Jerry said. « I heard of a farmer who has to slaughter 95% of his dairy just because he lives next to a forest. »
“When we organized our truck rally, they supported us,” said a woman participating in the protest.
Ottawa Police and By-law and Regulatory Services have implemented a temporary no-stop/no-parking zone in an area from Bronson Avenue in the west to the Rideau Canal in the east, and Wellington Street north to Laurier Avenue south. The no-stop zone and the no-protest zone include the area where the Dutch Embassy is located.
« To effectively distribute resources across the city, officers have been deployed to the downtown and surrounding areas to minimize disruption to residents, businesses and visitors; monitor convoy movements, » police said. on Twitter Saturday night. « Temporarily close off-ramps off Highway 417 to deter protesters in vehicles from entering downtown; engage with protesters; enforce vehicle exclusion zone; remind protesters of information on the Rules of the Road; communicating with the public and protesters and managing a protest and snake march through downtown with road closures to ensure public safety. »
Signs at the rally included « Freedom », « Hold the line » and « Stay with the farmers or eat crickets ».
« We want freedom of conscience, the ability to live, the ability to farm, to buy as many animals as you want, to farm as much as you want, » Stephanie said. « The freedom to sell what you produce and not have it bought up by government agencies and destroyed. »
Police reported seeing agricultural equipment on city streets, reminding farmers that the equipment is not permitted in the area.
“We want to remind everyone that in Ontario, you cannot drive farm equipment on a highway like the 417 and 416 unless there is no other access to the farmland you are working on, and the land must be adjacent to a 400-series highway,” police said on Twitter.
Convoys were to travel from Brockville, Kemptville, Renfrew and Arnprior to the western end of Ottawa before the downtown muster. Freedom Fighters Canada described etiquette for the protest, including « no blockages on roads, exits, bridges or highways » during the event and « ensure flags are properly secured. »
Farmers in the Netherlands have staged a series of demonstrations to protest the Dutch government’s new environmental targets.
Authorities have unveiled plans to cut emissions of pollutants like nitrogen oxide and ammonia by 50% by 2030, to protect more than 150 nature reserves in the country.
In recent weeks, farmers and supporters have protested outside government offices and on highways, and blocked food distribution centers across the country.
Ottawa police have issued a warning to motorists about possible protests downtown.
“There is no tolerance for protests or vehicle-based events in the designated downtown area of the city,” police said. said on Twitter.
« Groups who choose not to respect these designated areas will be met with an immediate police response involving law enforcement and full towing options. »
Police say protests or events in vehicles are prohibited in an area stretching from Bronson Avenue in the west to Waller Street in the east, and from Wellington Street/Rideau Street in the north to the east. Laurier Avenue to the south, as well as Booth Street, Sussex Drive and Mackenzie Avenue.
Ottawa police say protests or in-vehicle events are prohibited in the highlighted area. (Ottawa Police Service/Twitter)
Roads remain open, police said.
« Downtown remains open and accessible. The only exception is for vehicles wishing to do a vehicle-based demonstration, » the OPS said.
–With files from The Associated Press