OPINION | This article contains commentary that reflects the author's opinion.
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Interim Ottawa Police Chief Steve Bell said that the Ottawa Freedom Convoy protest that captured the world’s attention “felt” violent despite not being violent.
Bell said, “Not the Criminal Code definition of violence, but the violence they felt by having excessive horns blared, by having trucks run 24/7.”
Brendan Miller, counsel for the Freedom Convoy, asked, “So, the violence they felt, not actual violence, is that what you’re saying?”
Bell said, “That is correct.”
The intelligence report said the protestors were “less of a ‘professional protest’ and noted that attendants were “a powerful manifestation of deep discontent with how people feel they are being governed.”
The report continued, “The demographic of the Convoy is very unusual; the protests globally are made up almost entirely of middle-class members of society. Since the so-called ‘silent majority is numerically much larger than the professional activists. As a result, law enforcement is being met with numbers of people beyond the norm.”
Miller said, “A total of five violent offenses charged. You’d agree with me that is not unprecedented violence, is it?”
Chief Bell said, “As I defined violence, it wasn’t strictly Criminal Code violence.”
Bell continued, “Physical assaults do contribute to what I’m describing. I was specifically describing the violence that our community felt as a result of the culmination of actions the occupiers engaged in.”
Superintendent Patrick Morris said, “I mean, even in the arrest and charges considering the whole thing in totality… I want to be clear on this. We produced no intelligence to indicate these individuals would be armed. There has been a lot of hyperbole around that.”
More on this story via PM:
Miller claimed that it was the police who were acting abusively, claiming that “some who were arrested upon their release were essentially kidnapped by Ottawa Police Service officers, driven out of town in the middle of February winter by Ottawa Police Service officers and left in various rural areas and parking lots outside of town with no shelter or resources,” said Miller.
“One of them was a municipal parking lot where the trucks were being towed to,” said Miller. “That parking lot doesn’t have a building to drop them off at. It doesn’t have a phone. It doesn’t have any of that.”