The Kids’s Assist Society of Ottawa is warning mother and father who’ve introduced youngsters to the “Freedom Convoy” occupation downtown to make sure their youngsters will be cared for in case they’re arrested.
“The Kids’s Assist Society of Ottawa (CASO) is urging mother and father on the demonstration in Ottawa to make the required alternate care preparations ought to they develop into unable to care for his or her youngsters following potential police motion,” the CASO mentioned in an announcement Wednesday.
This comes as Ottawa police hand out leaflets to the demonstrators nonetheless entrenched within the capital’s downtown core and parliamentary precinct, warning them that their continued presence may quickly end in arrest.
The protest, now in its twentieth day of occupying Ottawa streets, is ostensibly in opposition to COVID-19 public well being measures, but in addition contains anti-government sentiments normally. Essentially the most ardent protesters have been adamant of their refusal to go away.
The presence of youngsters on the protest has been recognized for a while. Final week, police mentioned roughly 100 autos parked in downtown Ottawa had been housing youngsters.
“It’s one thing that drastically considerations us,” then-Deputy Police Chief Steve Bell mentioned. “From the danger of carbon monoxide and fumes, the noise ranges … we’re involved about chilly, we’re involved about entry to sanitation, the flexibility to bathe.”
The Emergencies Act enacted by the federal authorities has a prohibition on bringing youngsters to websites the place the protests and blockades are occurring.
Mayor Jim Watson referred to as on the mother and father who’re within the protest zone with youngsters to go away.
“They’ve been forewarned to get youngsters out of that zone,” he mentioned. “Utilizing these youngsters as some form of a protect or safety is completely reprehensible and irresponsible on the a part of any father or mother. They need to pack up and get their youngsters going again to highschool, again to their house provinces.”
The CASO mentioned it has an obligation to care for youngsters who might develop into separated from their mother and father on account of the police motion, but in addition vowed that oldsters and children can be reunited as quickly as doable.
“CASO has a mandate to guard a baby when their father or mother turns into unavailable to train their custodial rights over the kid and the father or mother has not made sufficient provision for the kid’s care and custody,” it mentioned.
“If mother and father and kids are separated following police efforts in ending the demonstration within the downtown core, CASO will work to reunite households as quickly as doable.”