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Toronto police sending resources to Ottawa ahead of ‘major demonstration’

The Toronto Police Service (TPS) says it is sending resources to Ottawa ahead of the trucker convoy protest this weekend.

TPS spokesperson Connie Osborne confirmed to Global News Friday that resources are being sent to the capital at the request of the Ottawa Police Service (OPS).

Osborne did not specify what exactly is being sent to Ottawa.

OPS said it was calling in reinforcements to help keep the peace.

Participants and supporters of the convoy are set to gather in the nation’s capital this weekend for a protest against COVID-19-related mandates.

Read more: ‘Freedom convoy’ demonstrators gather in Greater Toronto Area

Demonstrators have come from all over the country ahead of the protest, with some already arriving in Ottawa on Friday.

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On Thursday, convoys rolled through the Greater Toronto Area and demonstrators gathered throughout the region to show support.

In a series of tweets Friday, OPS said they are preparing for the “major demonstration” this weekend, with the main protests on Saturday and Sunday.

OPS highlighted traffic problems throughout the city as a concern. Police said organizers have advised that it “will be a peaceful protest.”

Read more: Police warn of ‘consequences’ for violence as trucker convoy nears Ottawa

“We will have officers on foot, in plain clothes, and using various methods to conduct evidence gathering and observation of crowds,” police continued.

“Demonstrators and residents can expect to see our members in different uniforms, with various equipment on their person and in different vehicles…

“This is Canada, and we truly believe the vast majority of people involved in any aspect of this will do so peacefully and lawfully.”

OPS said there will be a large police presence starting Friday and continuing through the weekend. They said officers are there to ensure protesters can demonstrate peacefully and added that they are “also entrusted to intervene when violence and laws are broken and restore peace.”

Click to play video: '‘Freedom convoy’ demonstrators gather in GTA' ‘Freedom convoy’ demonstrators gather in GTA
‘Freedom convoy’ demonstrators gather in GTA – Jan 27, 2022

Some with extreme, far-right views have attempted to latch onto the protest, leading to security concerns.

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Thus far the atmosphere has been generally party-like with some setting up barbecues on the sidewalk, and many honking horns, playing instruments and blaring music.

Still, downtown Ottawa was locked down as some associated with the convoy threatened violence and police said they were getting intelligence on threats being made.

— with files from The Canadian Press

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