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Canada COVID-19 protests: Ottawa’s police chief resigns

Ottawa’s police chief has resigned after criticism that he did not do enough to stop COVID-19 protests that have paralyzed Canada’s capital city.

The protests also forced Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to invoke emergency powers on Monday.

Reuters reports that a trucker-led movement calling on the government to lift vaccine mandates has occupied parts of downtown Ottawa since late January and blocked US border crossings, including a key trade route that was cleared by police over the weekend.

With hundreds of trucks still parked outside Canada’s parliament and prime minister’s office, Ottawa Police Chief Peter Sloly has stepped down, Riley Brockington, an Ottawa city councillor, said on Twitter.

Mr Sloly was expected to announce the decision later on Tuesday.

Mr Trudeau’s public safety minister said on Tuesday that the government had no role in his decision to resign.

Critics alleged that Mr Sloly and other police officers were too permissive in their approach to the protests, which have inspired copycat movements across the world and posed a major challenge to PM Trudeau’s government.

Mr Sloly says his police force lacks resources to peacefully disperse the protesters and his defenders have voiced fears the use of force could stoke violence.

Seeking to beef up policing, Mr Trudeau invoked the Emergencies Act on Monday, empowering his government to cut off protesters’ funding and reinforce provincial and local law enforcement with federal officers.

Editing by Tony Okerafor