Matt, a Centretown resident who appeared at OPC’s first hearing on Sept. 21, shared a photo of his counterprotest during the February truckers’ occupation of downtown Ottawa.
“We saw photos circulating of people waving swastika flags, cultural appropriation of Indigenous practices, Trudeau hanging by rope. We saw banners of white nationalist hate groups. We saw widespread harassment of mask wearers in our community, and several instances of public intoxication, urination, and defecation. And not to mention the toxic fumes from running vehicles and garbage that was left behind. As mentioned, there was a broken window of Happy Goat coffee on Elgin Street, which happened to have the Trans Pride flag in that window at the time, which was in my view, a hateful act. The police stood idly by and did nothing.
So the first night I went out alone to protest on the Hill — which is when this photo was taken — a group of police officers came up to me and said, quote, ‘We know you’re up here trying to speak your mind against all this. But if you stay here any longer, we can’t guarantee your safety.’ I told them that I had a right to be there, and that I would not be moving away. They casually stood at the corner watching everything happen, and in some cases took photos with the convoy protestors. This blew my mind. This made me feel alone and reinforced the general community sentiments of residents that OPS had completely lost control of the situation and could no longer properly enforce the law.”
You can view the full testimony below.