The "Freedom Convoy" is a "nationwide insurrection," the chair of Ottawa's police board said.
Protestors have let off fireworks, blocked roads, and desecrated a war memorial.
Protests have erupted in other Canadian cities, too, including Toronto and Hamilton.
The disruption that erupted in Ottawa after people gathered to protest Canada's vaccine mandate for truckers has become a "nationwide insurrection," the chair of the city's police board said.
The protestors are "terrorizing" and "threatening" the city's residents, Councillor Diane Deans said Saturday at an emergency meeting of the board.
"Our city is under siege," she said.
Canadian truckers first gathered January 28 in Ottawa for a so-called "Freedom Convoy" protest against the country's vaccine mandate. Since January 15, Canada has required US truckers to present proof of full vaccination against COVID-19 to cross the border. Unvaccinated Canadian truckers who drive to the US have to quarantine and get tested on their return. The US imposed a similar mandate on January 22.
But the Ottawa protest has snowballed into a much broader demonstration, attracting people who want to vent their opposition to Canadian government measures to tackle the pandemic, which they see as government overreach.
Protestors have let off fireworks and blocked roads, while police said they have opened a criminal investigation after a war memorial was desecrated during the protests. Some drivers have driven on the wrong side of the road, on the sidewalk, and through no-truck routes, leading to the city's police issuing hundreds of tickets.
After 10 days of protests the mayor of Ottawa Sunday declared a state of emergency, describing the situation as "completely out of control." The city's police said that, as of Sunday evening, there were more than 60 criminal investigations related to the demonstration, primarily for mischief, theft, hate crime, and property damage.
"This group is emboldened by the lack of enforcement by every level of government," Deans said at Saturday's board meeting. "They are terrorizing our residents, torturing them with incessant honking, threatening them, and preventing them from leading their lives."
"People cannot go to work or open their businesses," Deans said. "They cannot sleep, walk, shop, go to medical appointments, or enjoy their neighborhood. This group is a threat to our democracy. What we're seeing is bigger than just a city of Ottawa problem. This is a nationwide insurrection. This is madness."
The honking alone has caused "significant mental distress, suffering, and torment" to local residents, according to a class-action lawsuit filed Friday that's seeking $9.8 million in damages.
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