[Anglican Journal (Anglican Church of Canada)] On Feb. 17, the Rt. Rev. Shane Parker, bishop of the Diocese of Ottawa, took a walk through the area shut down by the ‘Freedom Convoy’ protests around Parliament Hill. It would turn out to be the last visit he made before police moved in and began clearing out the vehicles and protesters beginning the next day.
What he saw there, he says, were two different worlds in the space of two city blocks. In one of those worlds, police had gathered by a barricade they were setting up to block off access to Wellington Street, which runs in front of the Parliament buildings, in preparation for the next day’s action. In the other, a group of protesters had set up a patio tent and was having a barbecue, apparently unconcerned about the impending police intervention. When he approached the police officers and identified himself, they joked with him and told him they loved hearing the bell from nearby Christ Church Cathedral. The protesters, he says, were more wary of his presence, so he didn’t press the issue.
Parker remembers a “juxtaposition,” he says, of “very vigilant police officers waiting for a complex police action and protesters — there was a child in their midst — who I don’t know if they actually understood the gravity of the situation.”