Ottawa is canceling police officers' days off as the Freedom Convoy protests continue. Some have worked 2 weeks without a break.
Ottawapolice officers haven't had a day off in two weeks, the city's police chief said.
- Officers are working shifts up to 18 hours long amid the
Freedom Convoyprotests, he said.
Ottawa is canceling police officers' time off as Freedom Convoy protests continue to draw thousands of demonstrators.
Some Ottawa police officers haven't had a day off in two weeks and are working shifts of up to 18 hours, the city's police chief said.
"We have members of this service that are on literally their knees trying to continue," Ottawa Police Chief Peter Sloly said at an emergency meeting of the city's police board Saturday.
"We've canceled their days off," he said, adding that some officers hadn't had a day off for as much as 14 days.
"They are working 12-hour shifts, 14-hour shifts, and 18-hours shifts, and they have their families to look after," Sloly said.
The so-called "Freedom Convoy" started in late January as a protest against the country's vaccine mandate for
Thousands of people have flocked to Ottawa, with some protesters letting off fireworks and blocking roads, and police say they opened a criminal investigation after a war memorial was desecrated during the protests.
The disruption was described as a "nationwide insurrection" by the chair of the city's police board at Saturday's meeting. The mayor of Ottawa Sunday declared a state of emergency in response to the protests, describing the situation as "completely out of control." Protests have also spread to other cities, including Toronto.
"Every available Ottawa police service member is currently in active duty," Sloly said. "We have no members on days off. They're either off on some sort of short-, medium-, or long-term accommodated leave, otherwise they are all called back into duty and in operational mode in one form or the other."
Ottawa's police force said Friday that it was adding 150 more officers, including some non-uniformed, to patrols in the neighborhoods most affected by the protests.
Other police forces are sending officers to Ottawa to help bolster numbers, including 100 officers from the Ontario Provincial Police.
"The surge of police officers will result in enforcement to restore public safety," the police department said Friday.
The department said that, as of Sunday evening, there were more than 60 open criminal investigations related to the demonstration, primarily for mischief, theft, hate crime, and property damage. At least seven people were arrested on Sunday alone and multiple vehicles were seized. Officers have responded to more than 650 calls directly related to the protests since they started, police said.
Officers have issued hundreds of tickets, including for driving without insurance or without a seat belt, excessive honking, and driving on the wrong side of the road.
"We are actively collecting evidence to investigate all unlawful behavior," Sloly said at the board meeting Saturday.
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