City of Ottawa staff to take stand in ‘Freedom Convoy’ trial

The criminal trial of two “freedom march” organizers is expected to hear the city’s view of the controversial protest as Ottawa’s emergency manager takes the stand.

Kim Ayotte oversaw the city’s law enforcement, fire and paramedic services, as well as the special events department during last year’s demonstration.

Tamara Leach and Chris Barber are on trial to determine whether they committed mischief or advised others to commit mischief, intimidation and other crimes during the protest.

Demonstrators blocked city streets and residential neighborhoods around Parliament Hill in protest against the COVID-19 public health restrictions, and refused to leave for three weeks.

Ayotte gave then-Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson and the rest of the city council daily updates on the situation during the demonstration.

Ottawa declared a state of emergency following the second weekend of protests in what the then-mayor called “the most serious emergency our city has ever faced.”

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