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Police launch investigation after member of Canada trucker convoy filmed dancing on tomb of unknown soldier

Several criminal investigations are underway in relation to the desecration, officials say

Arpan Rai
Monday 31 January 2022 15:51 GMT
Ottawa mayor condemns desecration of National War Memorial, Terry Fox statue
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Ottawa police have launched a criminal investigation into the incident of protestors climbing atop a cenotaph and dancing on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier among other violent acts seen during the protest against Covid-19 vaccine mandates and safety protocols, officials said on Sunday.

“Several criminal investigations are underway in relation to the desecration of the National War Memorial/Terry Fox statue, threatening/illegal/intimidating behaviour to police/city workers and other individuals and damage to a city vehicle,” the Ottawa police said on Twitter.

They added: “Illegal behaviour will not be tolerated and will be fully investigated. We have investigative and evidence-gathering teams in place to support the management of the demonstration.”

The police will not be taking reports through social media, asking for the incidents to be directly reported to them.

New videos on social media showed protestors from the “Freedom Convoy” on Saturday at the Parliament Hill and nearby areas damaging the National War Memorial in the demonstration. One of the protestors was seen jumping on the Tomb of the Unknown soldier and yelling “freedom” as he was being filmed.

The protests were carried out by anti-vaxxers travelling in truck convoys halting traffic as they opposed vaccine mandates, masks and lockdowns.

Another photo from the protests showed the statue of Terry Fox, a national figure, draped in an upside down Canadian flag and a sign reading “mandate freedom.” A historical figure in Canada, Fox lost a leg to bone cancer in his early years and then launched a fundraising trek across Canada in 1980.

The vandalism came to light on Saturday and was condemned by Canada’s chief of defence staff who said that he was sickened to see the protestors acts.

“I am sickened to see protesters dance on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and desecrate the National War Memorial. Generations of Canadians have fought and died for our rights, including free speech, but not this,” General Wayne Eyre said on Twitter.

Those involved should hang their heads in shame, the General added.

The desecration was also condemned by defence minister Anita Anand who said that the behaviour displayed at the war memorial was “beyond reprehensible”

"The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and National War Memorial are sacred sites for our country. I urge all Canadians to treat them with solemnity, out of respect for those who have fought and died for Canada," the defence minister said.

On Sunday morning, Ottawa police officials barricaded the area around the National War Memorial with concrete blocks to protect the cenotaph from further intrusion.

It added that national monuments should be respected by all.

“Barricades have been erected to block vehicle access to the passage leading to the war memorial,” the police said.

The police officials also blocked the access of cars to be parked near the war memorial and removed them from the spot.

"Several vehicles parked at the National War Memorial this morning and were immediately towed. Cars are not allowed to park and people will not be allowed to desecrate the Memorial," the police said.

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