Police moved in to evict the last protesters from the Ottawa baseball stadium on Sunday, as “Freedom Convoy” protesters packed up the remaining items from the command center in Ottawa’s east end.
Just after 10 p.m. Sunday, Ottawa police said the camp in the Coventry Road car park “previously occupied by an unlawful assembly is now cleared”.
Twenty vehicles were towed from the ballpark.
Police served a trespassing notice to anyone remaining at the camp on Sunday afternoon, saying they could face fines of up to $2,000. Shortly after, officers arrived at the east Ottawa parking lot to clear the camp.
“There was a methodical plan that was going to be put in place to deal with all the places disturbed by the illegal occupation, including Coventry Road,” Acting Ottawa Police Chief Steve Bell said Sunday.
“Currently there is activity by our members and activity by protesters to demobilize this area and eventually re-secure it by the city.”
Police said on Sunday night officers would remain at the stadium to ‘prevent anyone from returning’ as the operation continues to end the ‘Freedom Convoy’ protest which has blocked city streets for more than three weeks.
Hours before police issued the trespassing notice, tents were coming down, saunas were gone and many vehicles had left the parking lot five kilometers from Parliament Hill.
“The trucks are gone and it’s a support camp for those trucks, so I think everyone is pulling out of Ottawa and moving somewhere else to regroup,” Marc McAuly told CTV News Ottawa. .
For three weeks, the city-owned baseball stadium parking lot was a stronghold for convoy protesters, set up as a supply camp and closed to outsiders.
Downtown police action and the threat of fines are enough for some to regroup out of town, if they even decide to stay in the area.
“We’re going to a new place, around Vankleek Hill,” Menard said.
“For now we’ll keep it quiet. We’ll see what happens in the future and we’ll make decisions afterwards,” said another protester at the stadium.
Dozens of convoy supporters gather in rural areas outside of Ottawa near Vankleek Hill, Embrun and Arnprior.
“The last number I got was probably around 10 to 15 trucks and around 15 cars, so it seems to have been consistent over the past few weeks with a slight reduction over the past few days,” the mayor said. County of Russell, Pierre Leroux.
Leroux admits he is concerned about the possibility of more vehicles coming to the area.
“This being a large agricultural field, it creates challenges. Obviously our personnel are not trained for this scenario, so we rely heavily on the provincial police,” Leroux said.
The Ontario Provincial Police and Ottawa police say they are aware of the gatherings outside the city and are committed to maintaining public safety.
“We continue to monitor illegal protester activity throughout the city and region,” Bell said. “We see the Coventry Road site currently being dismantled.”
The acting police chief added that police will “try to keep tabs” on people leaving Ottawa who may congregate to return to the city at a later date.
Two weeks ago a major police operation targeted the Coventry Road encampment to seize protesters’ fuel stocks. Police said around 3,200 liters were seized in the February 6 operation. The camp, however, remained in place.
With files from Ted Raymond of CTV News Ottawa