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Ottawa police pressed for answers on end to convoy blockade: ‘This will take time’

An operation to end an “illegal” blockade of downtown Ottawa will take time, police say, as they vowed to remove all remaining demonstrators and their vehicles that have been camped in the nation’s capital for the past 20 days.

“It’s not going to be a quick turnaround. This is an operation that will take time — over a number of days to actually execute,” said Steve Bell, interim Ottawa Police Service chief at a special city council meeting on Wednesday.

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Ottawa police issue new warning amid convoy blockade: ‘leave the area now’

Bell, who stepped in to fill the interim role after Peter Sloly resigned as chief of the Ottawa Police Service on Tuesday, did not give any details about the execution of the plan nor gave a timeline when asked by multiple city councillors at the meeting.

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“I can’t speak to the specifics of the plan because it would jeopardize its operational success,” he said in response to a question.

“We’re going to take back the entirety of the downtown core and every occupied space,” said Bell.

“We’re going to remove this unlawful protest. We will return our city to a state of normalcy.”

Click to play video: 'Ottawa police warn protesters of arrests'

Ottawa police warn protesters of arrests

Ottawa police warn protesters of arrests

Residents of Ottawa are growing impatient as the so-called “Freedom Convoy”, protesting against COVID-19 vaccine mandates and other public health measures, has paralyzed the nation’s capital for nearly three weeks.

On Wednesday morning, Ottawa police warned the protesters to “leave the area now” or “face charges”.

“Anyone blocking streets, or assisting others in the blocking streets, are committing a criminal offence and you may be arrested. You must immediately cease further unlawful activity or you will face charges,” reads a notice issued by Ottawa police on Wednesday morning.

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What powers will the Emergencies Act give the government? Here’s what the convoy can expect

Meanwhile, an Ontario Superior Court justice in Ottawa granted a 60-day extension to the injunction issued last week which banned the use of air horns and train horns by the convoy. That injunction had initially been granted for just 10 days and was set to expire.

For his part, Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson urged the protesters to leave the city, warning that the “window of opportunity” is closing.

“If you leave now voluntarily, the odds of being able to leave with your property are quite high,” he said during the meeting.

“The longer you stay, the greater the risk to yourself and others,” Watson added.

The warnings come as the federal government invoked the never-before-used Emergencies Act on Monday in order to quash the ongoing blockades in Ottawa and elsewhere.

Under the legislation, you can’t legally travel to the blockade in Ottawa, and you’ve got to leave if you’re already there.

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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