Mapping the trucker convoy in Ottawa: ‘no one’s leaving here’

Click to play video: 'Disruptive Ottawa protest tests security limits of Canada’s capital'
Disruptive Ottawa protest tests security limits of Canada’s capital
WATCH: Disruptive Ottawa protest tests security limits of Canada's capital – Feb 11, 2022

The so-called “freedom convoy” that has snarled downtown Ottawa streets is widening its grip on the city, sprawling out in new, smaller encampments scattered around town.

And while the police say they’ve negotiated movement of some trucks around the city, there are protesters in various encampments who continue to dig in their heels.

“If trucks leave here, they’re going out on a convoy. They’re going to join the rest of the trucks,” said John Bancroft, a coordinator for the encampment site set up on Coventry Road — a short drive from downtown Ottawa.

“No one’s leaving here until the mandates are lifted.”

Click to play video: 'Trucker protest organizers’ intentions remain unclear as occupation drags on'
Trucker protest organizers’ intentions remain unclear as occupation drags on

When the convoy first rolled into downtown Ottawa on Friday, Jan. 28, most of the vehicles got situated on Wellington Street, the street that runs in front of Parliament Hill, and the overflow lined nearby roads.

But in the days since, that setup has shifted — and Global News has created a map of what the convoy protest’s encampments look like now.

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The original location of the convoy, Wellington Street, remains lined with trucks and regular vehicles. There’s a clearing in front of the Supreme Court of Canada, where protesters play street hockey. But with each passing day, police have increasingly moved in on this area.

One of the most disruptive elements within the area was the protesters’ incessant horn honking. A court injunction has since temporarily silenced the horns, but many trucks continue to frustrate residents by clogging high-traffic downtown streets.

The secondary camp — which is increasingly becoming the most fortified — is just off Coventry Road, a 10-minute drive from Parliament Hill. Demonstrators expanded to this parking lot before the end of the protest’s first week.

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Located next to a city-owned baseball stadium, the site features tents, port-o-potties and food stockpiles. It’s also conveniently located right next to a three-star hotel, making it easy for demonstrators who decide sleeping in their car or in a tent isn’t an appealing option.

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Those who have decided to sleep in the encampment itself, meanwhile, have slowly started to build their own rules — and enforcement measures.

“There’s there’s a lot of weirdos out there, so we’ve started a little security team, and we got set up so we had some perimeters,” Bancroft told Global News, speaking from the Coventry Road encampment.

Click to play video: 'Ottawa police take limited action as protesters, disruption spread out'
Ottawa police take limited action as protesters, disruption spread out

“People are trying to end this in a big way, and they’re coming at us from every angle, so we’re doing our best to counter that by making sure the place is safe for the public, especially the kids.”

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Bancroft added that people pick up responsibilities based on what skills they have. For example, he has “training in fuel storage.”

Ottawa police have been cracking down on efforts to bring fuel to protesters, warning in a tweet last Sunday that “anyone attempting to bring material supports,” including gas, to the demonstrators “could be subject to arrest.”

Reports have emerged that another encampment has sprung up across the river from Carleton University, just off a road that leads straight to the airport. The site is in the parking lot of a federal government complex and appears to be a much smaller, newer set-up than its predecessors.

Speaking to Global News on Friday, the remaining trucks in this encampment said they plan to tear down before the day is through and set up a new camp at exit 88 off Highway 417, just outside of Ottawa.

That hasn’t stopped nearby institutions from putting out warnings, though. Carleton University acknowledged the encampment in a Wednesday statement, adding that none of the university’s land has been used for the demonstration.

“While at the moment, our operations have not been impacted, we are monitoring the situation very closely,” the university said in a statement.

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A local recreation centre, located just across the road from the encampment area, also reached out to its members. It announced plans to block off some entryways with “cement barriers.”

“We have received numerous enquiries as to what we are doing to mitigate risk. We can assure members that we are taking all precautions regarding the security of this property,” the statement from the RA Centre read.

Click to play video: 'Misinformation fuels copycats as Ottawa convoy gains international support'
Misinformation fuels copycats as Ottawa convoy gains international support

The centre is working with police, government, fire services and others to “secure the property” in the hopes “of preventing vehicles from accessing” the site “illegally.”

Meanwhile, protesters continue to exclaim their grievances on the city’s streets.

“I’m not into wearing masks and restricting my breathing. I’m not into having forced needles,” said Adam Ryckman, a protester in Ottawa, speaking to Global News from the street in front of Parliament Hill earlier this week.

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“The government’s not my daddy, so I don’t have to do every little thing they say. I have a right to an opinion. I have a right to a choice, just like everyone here.”

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