Showdown in Ottawa looms: Police hand out notices to evacuate

Showdown in Ottawa looms: Police hand out notices to evacuate

Ottawa cops have started dishing out leaflets to truckers occupying the city’s downtown core demanding they leave immediately.

The operation began around 10am local time Wednesday around the crucial Parliament Buildings area of the blockade.

The flyer read: ‘You must leave the area now. Anyone blocking the streets, or assisting others in blocking the streets, are committing a criminal offence and you may be arrested.

‘You must immediately cease further unlawful activity or you will face charges… The people of Ottawa are being denied the lawful use, enjoyment and operation of their property and you are causing businesses to close. That is mischief under the Criminal Code.’

Some of the truckers handed ripped the notices ripped up while others handed them back to officers. One told a cop: ‘Take your garbage back.’

This comes as was given an exclusive tour of one of the Freedom Convoy camps, officially known as Base Camp 3, Coventry 302. 

On Wednesday Ottawa cops began dishing out leaflets to truckers occupying the city's downtown core demanding they leave immediately

On Wednesday Ottawa cops began dishing out leaflets to truckers occupying the city’s downtown core demanding they leave immediately

The flyer read: 'You must leave the area now. Anyone blocking the streets, or assisting others in blocking the streets, are committing a criminal offence and you may be arrested'

The flyer read: ‘You must leave the area now. Anyone blocking the streets, or assisting others in blocking the streets, are committing a criminal offence and you may be arrested’

Some of the truckers handed the notices ripped them up while others handed them back to officers. One told a cop: 'Take your garbage back'

Some of the truckers handed the notices ripped them up while others handed them back to officers. One told a cop: ‘Take your garbage back’

Police officers go from truck to truck handing out notices to protesters warning of impending arrest if they stay in Ottawa

Police officers go from truck to truck handing out notices to protesters warning of impending arrest if they stay in Ottawa

Punishment for protesters may include a ban from entering the U.S., forfeiting of a commercial driver's license, seizure of property and arrest

Punishment for protesters may include a ban from entering the U.S., forfeiting of a commercial driver’s license, seizure of property and arrest

Showdown in Ottawa looms: Police hand out notices to evacuate

‘You must immediately cease further unlawful activity or you will face charges… The people of Ottawa are being denied the lawful use, enjoyment and operation of their property and you are causing businesses to close. That is mischief under the Criminal Code,’ the flyer reads 

The base camp a tented nerve center in the operation to maintain the crippling truck-blockade occupation of downtown Ottawa.

Spreading over a baseball stadium’s four-acre parking lot three miles from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s office, it is largely shielded from a busy road by big rigs and pick-up trucks.

Mounds of snow also give the staging area some cover from prying eyes.

And it’s fair to say what goes on at the burgeoning tent city has been the subject of speculation since its first makeshift structures appeared on January 29.

However can now reveal details of the massive operation being carried out there after being given an exclusive tour of the camp by officials.

As well as an office for crucial planning, the camp also provides massive logistical support to the truckers and volunteers 24/7.

This includes providing 500 hot meals a day, facilities for up to 30 children – and even two sauna cabins and three massage therapists.

Relays of volunteers ferry the truckers occupying downtown back to the camp to feed them, do their laundry and provide them therapy in a well-oiled operation.

The camp also has its own security force.

Before the tour, we had to go through security requirements that felt almost like a fast-track vetting.

There is a strict checkpoint, where unknown visitors are scrutinized. We handed over our business cards to a cheerful young woman, who took them away to the central office.

She returned ten minutes later saying someone would call and we might be able to come back.

No call came, so we returned to the checkpoint two hours later – where Base Camp 3 volunteer Angel Godsoe, 50, emerged from another tent and handed us makeshift media accreditation to hang from our necks.

 was given an exclusive tour of one of the Freedom Convoy camps, officially known as Base Camp 3, Coventry 302

was given an exclusive tour of one of the Freedom Convoy camps, officially known as Base Camp 3, Coventry 302

The camp has two sauna cabins and three massage therapists for the truckers who are now on Day 20 of the downtown Ottawa occupation

The camp has two sauna cabins and three massage therapists for the truckers who are now on Day 20 of the downtown Ottawa occupation 

Angel Godsoe, 50, a mom of nine who owns a riding stable, insisted, 'This place is here to support the truckers. 'The best people in the country are here. They are the leaders of this base camp. We are like a charity organization'

Angel Godsoe, 50, a mom of nine who owns a riding stable, insisted, ‘This place is here to support the truckers. ‘The best people in the country are here. They are the leaders of this base camp. We are like a charity organization’

As well as an office for crucial planning, the camp also provides massive logistical support to the truckers and volunteers 24/7

As well as an office for crucial planning, the camp also provides massive logistical support to the truckers and volunteers 24/7

Volunteers are seen surrounding a gas heater to stay warm in the brisk Ottawa winter

Volunteers are seen surrounding a gas heater to stay warm in the brisk Ottawa winter 

Godsoe, a mom of nine who owns a riding stable, would not be drawn on how much campaign planning goes on at the camp – and would not let us take photographs inside the main office tent.

She simply insisted: ‘This place is here to support the truckers. The best people in the country are here. They are the leaders of this base camp. We are like a charity organization.

‘We are group of people who decided to put this up on public property because we are within out rights to do that. So nobody can tell us to leave, because it is owned by the city.’

The camp is now an extensive network of tents, with two white structures appearing to be the nerve center of the camp. It is wedged between the stadium of RCGT Park and two hotels, a Hampton Inn and a Courtyard by Marriott.

Godsoe insisted that no fuel for trucks is being stored there. This follows a dramatic early hours raid on February 6 by dozens of heavily-armed police who hauled away at least one tanker of fuel.

Snipers were on the roof of the stadium and one of the hotels to back up the swoop as officers moved through the camp.

It is unclear if there is actually one organization running the camp. Godsoe insists it is entirely a group of volunteers who want to assist the Freedom Convoy movement.

We were allowed inside the main office despite the photo ban. Activity inside was humming – people at desks, people chatting in groups, people consulting lists.

A bearded man in his 40s and dressed all in black appeared to be one of the leaders. ‘He’s the general,’ said Godsoe, half in jest but clearly making a point.

‘And this is Bobby,’ she added, pointing out a man standing in the same group. ‘He does logistics, he makes sure everything runs smoothly. He’s amazing. He’s a genius too.’

Godsoe, a bubbly character clearly in her element, said the camp has at least 200 volunteers as it has physically expanded to the point where it looks semi-permanent.

In other areas of the tent, stalls of donated fresh fruit, tinned goods and baking items are crammed

In other areas of the tent, stalls of donated fresh fruit, tinned goods and baking items are crammed 

Money is flowing into the camp from donations. And each volunteer's particular skill has been used to make the base more comfortable as the weeks have passed ¿ including making the structures more secure and 'tight' against crushing daytime cold down to a real feel negative 24 Fahrenheit

Money is flowing into the camp from donations. And each volunteer’s particular skill has been used to make the base more comfortable as the weeks have passed – including making the structures more secure and ‘tight’ against crushing daytime cold down to a real feel negative 24 Fahrenheit

Relays of volunteers ferry the truckers occupying downtown back to the camp to feed them, do their laundry and provide the therapy in a well-oiled operation

Relays of volunteers ferry the truckers occupying downtown back to the camp to feed them, do their laundry and provide the therapy in a well-oiled operation

‘People from all over the country are coming to help,’ she said. ‘Originally truckers could bring their big rigs here, park and get some food. Now we have trucks coming in and out.

‘We have got two saunas and three massage therapists, one of them is here right now.

‘Those facilities are particularly well used by the truckers. We have a shuttle service for them, people come back and forth from downtown

‘We give them nourishment, support, a sauna, massage therapy.’

Money is also flowing into the camp from donations, Godsoe said. And each volunteer’s particular skill has been used to make the base more comfortable as the weeks have passed – including making the structures more secure and ‘tight’ against crushing daytime cold down to a real feel negative 24 Fahrenheit.

In the packed dining tent, where barbecue grills and smokers are working overtime, there is a large TV on the wall which was used for a Super Bowl party on Sunday.

Meanwhile in another area of the tent, stalls of donated fresh fruit, tinned goods and baking items are crammed.

Godsoe, from Lindsay, Ontario, said she and other volunteers work punishing shifts to help maintain the camp. ‘I’m from five hours away and I did 30 straight hours,’ she said. ‘I went home, slept a bit, took a shower, came back. We are all pitching in.’

At the back of the tent are two big rig trailers entirely full of food. More food that will not freeze is kept in blue tents.

‘There are different divisions of help,’ said Godsoe. ‘We have kitchen volunteers, we have trades people, we have mechanics, electricians and carpenters. We don’t need any plumbers here because we have no running water.

‘I believe we have some of the best chefs in Ottawa volunteering here because the food rivals top restaurants. It’s really good food here. It’s amazing. Three hot meals a day. The grill closes down at night, but there is still food available 24/7. And the salads and soups are great also.’

She added: ‘We have security volunteers. And that’s because we want to keep the peace. It could turn into a big party, but it hasn’t.

‘We want to make sure that people are focused, we are doing a job here, we are fixing the country. It’s not a party.

‘The truckers are doing their own watches too on Parliament Hill. But if we have extra security we send them down there as well for night time.

There is little trash on the streets around the Parliament Buildings which is the main focus of the occupation. ‘We bring it back here,’ said Godsoe.

The two sauna cabins are seen at the camp, next to a truck with a sign that reads, 'United We Stand'

The two sauna cabins are seen at the camp, next to a truck with a sign that reads, ‘United We Stand’

The camp is now an extensive network of tents, with two white structures operating as the nerve center of the camp

The camp is now an extensive network of tents, with two white structures operating as the nerve center of the camp

The camp is wedged between the stadium of RCGT Park and two hotels, a Hampton Inn and a Courtyard by Marriott

The camp is wedged between the stadium of RCGT Park and two hotels, a Hampton Inn and a Courtyard by Marriott

The command center sets up accommodation for volunteers and tries to help some truckers as well. But it's been claimed authorities had been booking out hotels in a bid to stop them finding rooms

The command center sets up accommodation for volunteers and tries to help some truckers as well. But it’s been claimed authorities had been booking out hotels in a bid to stop them finding rooms

The command center also sets up accommodation for volunteers and tries to help some truckers as well. But Godsoe claimed authorities had been booking out hotels in a bid to stop them finding rooms.

‘We are billeting people,’ she said. ‘We have a list, one of my other duties, a list of people willing to give accommodations, give showers, do laundry – we have people bringing in laundry they have done for the truckers.

‘I have a list of so many people. They come in, I’d say a dozen a day willing to bring other people into their homes. And that is just talking to me. Then there are churches who are also getting involved.

‘Little miracles happen like when we were missing our fire extinguishers, I don’t know if it was mischief or it was just you know, whatever, but we were looking for them. And then a man walks into the office and says, ‘I’m a volunteer firefighter and I’ve got three in my car’. Again and again and again these things happen.

‘Ottawa has opened its arms to us.’

Godsoe was philosophical about when the deadlock would end. Of Trudeau’s Emergencies Act declaration, she said: ‘It is a desperate measure from a desperate man. It’s his last-ditch attempt.

‘We don’t know when we will go. Nobody knows the day or the time it is going to end.But we can see the cracks in the walls. The police chief just stepped down. That’s big chunk right there. The walls are coming down.’

Relays of volunteers ferry the truckers occupying downtown back to the camp to feed them, do their laundry and provide the therapy in a well-oiled operation. 

‘We believe police are still in one of those hotels and watching us with all their surveillance techniques,’ he said.

Godsoe added: ‘They are observing us from those windows, We’ve got drones flying over here constantly. We have got tripods in those windows.’

Organizers and supporters of the Freedom Convoy have called on Canadians to descend on Ottawa this weekend to make it impossible for police to move in and end the protest

Organizers and supporters of the Freedom Convoy have called on Canadians to descend on Ottawa this weekend to make it impossible for police to move in and end the protest

Ottawa Police Service have cautioned that the Federal Emergencies Act invoked by prime minister Justin Trudeau 'allows for the regulation or prohibition of travel to, from or within any specified area'

Ottawa Police Service have cautioned that the Federal Emergencies Act invoked by prime minister Justin Trudeau ‘allows for the regulation or prohibition of travel to, from or within any specified area’

Demonstrators roast a pig on a downtown street in Ottawa as truckers and supporters continue to protest

Demonstrators roast a pig on a downtown street in Ottawa as truckers and supporters continue to protest 

Meanwhile, organizers and supporters of the Freedom Convoy have called on Canadians to descend on Ottawa this weekend to make it impossible for police to move in and end the protest.

At a press conference Wednesday, two former police officers and a military veteran urged their fellow citizens to ignore warnings from authorities to stay out of the nation’s capital on this Family Day long weekend.

‘We call on our fellow Canadians to come to Ottawa to exercise their legal right to assembly and protest,’ said Daniel Bulford, a former RCMP officer. ‘The more Canadians that come to Ottawa will make it harder for the government to get the police to follow their illegal order.’

Ottawa Police Service have cautioned that the Federal Emergencies Act invoked by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau ‘allows for the regulation or prohibition of travel to, from or within any specified area.’

It warned that ‘anyone coming to Ottawa for the purpose of joining the ongoing demonstration is breaking the law.’

Bulford said citizens should be ‘shocked’ that Trudeau’s government has resorted to such an ‘extreme and authoritarian measure and that the government wants to use force against a peaceful demonstration.

‘We cannot allow this happen,’ he said.

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