An Edmonton police officer has been placed on administrative leave after a video surfaced on social media that police acknowledge shows her in uniform voicing support for trucker convoy protests largely centred around opposition to COVID-19 vaccine mandates.
In an email sent to media outlets on Tuesday, an Edmonton Police Service spokesperson said Const. Elena Golysheva is on leave while the EPS’ professional standards branch conducts an investigation into the matter.
“I am unable to provide any additional information at this time,” the spokesperson said.
In the video, the police officer said she was recording the video for police officers who have been tasked with addressing the truckers’ occupation of downtown Ottawa.
“You have been asked a lot right now,” the officer says in the video. “You have been asked to be leaders and make your decision in a situation that is hard for everyone.”
The officer then thanks the truckers for “standing up for us” and says people’s freedoms have been taken away.
For weeks now, protesters and semi-trucks have occupied Parliament Hill in the country’s capital.
The protest was triggered when a new rule came into effect stipulating that all Canadian truckers must be vaccinated against COVID-19 to cross the Canada-U.S. border if they want to avoid quarantine and a pre-arrival molecular test. The U.S. also has its own vaccine mandate for truckers crossing the border.
Since then, other convoy protests have sprung up across the country, with several of them blocking border crossings between Canada and the U.S. for days and even weeks. Some protesters have also voiced their opposition to mask mandates and expressed their desire for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to resign.
In Edmonton, protest convoys have made their way to the Alberta legislature over the last few Saturdays.
Many people in downtown Edmonton have complained about the excessive noise brought on by the convoys’ honking, and this past weekend, some raised concerns that police appeared to be more focused on confronting people protesting against the convoys than the convoys’ participants themselves.
Police issued a statement in response to such concerns being raised that said “policing during a public demonstration is a complex task that includes upholding multiple laws while balancing fundamental rights for all demonstrators set out in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.”
“Our priority is always to uphold public safety and order,” the statement reads in part.
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