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Mayor John Tory says City is preparing for possible ‘convoy’ protest in Toronto

Click to play video: 'Demonstration planned at Queen’s Park in Toronto this weekend' Demonstration planned at Queen’s Park in Toronto this weekend
WATCH ABOVE: A demonstration is expected in Toronto this weekend. Supporters of the truckers' convoy are being told to meet up at various locations in the GTA on Saturday morning and then head to Queen’s Park. Sean O'Shea has more on the security concerns and preparations. – Feb 3, 2022

Toronto Mayor John Tory said preparations are being made for a possible convoy protest being planned at Queen’s Park on the weekend.

“We must do everything we can to avoid the type of situation currently faced by Ottawa residents and businesses,” Tory said in a statement on Thursday.

A poster online titled “Convoy for Freedom Toronto” lists several meet up locations, most at GTA malls, to head to Queen’s Park for noon on Saturday.

A cross-country convoy of truckers and supporters descended on Ottawa last weekend demanding vaccine mandates, among other restrictions, be dropped. Protesters have remained in the capital for nearly a week.

Read more: Ottawa police hand out 30 tickets, including for honking, over convoy disruptions

Tory said he supports the right for all Canadians to peacefully and respectfully protest as several kinds of protests have taken place in Toronto throughout the pandemic.

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“I want to be absolutely clear that I support Toronto police taking necessary action to prepare for this protest with a focus on doing everything they can to protect the safety of Toronto residents and businesses and to minimize any disruptions to Toronto residents and businesses as much as possible,” Tory said.

“This weekend marks the first weekend that many businesses are able to be open, including restaurants and indoor dining,” Tory continued. “The notion that any protest would keep these businesses — hit hard by the pandemic — from being open or drive customers away is unacceptable.”

Click to play video: 'Toronto mayor says City is preparing for ‘possible convoy protest’ at Queens Park Saturday' Toronto mayor says City is preparing for ‘possible convoy protest’ at Queens Park Saturday
Toronto mayor says City is preparing for ‘possible convoy protest’ at Queens Park Saturday – Feb 3, 2022

Tory also said any protest at Queen’s Park cannot block off hospital access to anyone needing care or for workers trying to get into hospitals in the area.

The mayor said he has met with Toronto police Chief James Ramer, Fire Chief Matthew Pegg, senior city staff and officers in anticipation of the planned event.

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He added a public update for residents will be made on Friday and police are continuing to gather information.

Read more: Trucker convoy GoFundMe suspended, ‘under review’ after raising over $10M

“As mayor, I cannot direct police enforcement — no elected official can — but I have made it clear to Chief Ramer that we must do everything we can to avoid the type of situation currently faced by Ottawa residents and businesses,” Tory said.

Meanwhile, Toronto police told Global News it is aware of the planned demonstration in the downtown core on Saturday.

“The service will have a policing operation in place to ensure public safety and keep emergency access routes to hospitals clear,” a spokesperson said. “Over the coming days we will continue to liaise with organizers and partner agencies. Any updates, including disruption to travel, will be communicated to the public at the earliest opportunity.”

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