A resident holds a sign calling for a convoy participant to remove their Canadian flag as they negotiate to release vehicles from a counter protest that blocked Riverside Drive for hours, in Ottawa, Sunday, Feb. 13, 2022. The protest, which began as a cross country convoy against COVID-19 measures but has manifested into a broader anti-government protest, has been marked by the sound of truck horns and the waving of the Canadian flag, sometimes upside down, which residents argued was a co-opting of the flag. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang

A resident holds a sign calling for a convoy participant to remove their Canadian flag as they negotiate to release vehicles from a counter protest that blocked Riverside Drive for hours, in Ottawa, Sunday, Feb. 13, 2022. The protest, which began as a cross country convoy against COVID-19 measures but has manifested into a broader anti-government protest, has been marked by the sound of truck horns and the waving of the Canadian flag, sometimes upside down, which residents argued was a co-opting of the flag. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang

Ottawa mayor pushes to shrink convoy footprint, as feds eye action

Ottawa’s mayor has set a deadline of noon today for truckers encamped in the capital’s core to move out of residential streets in a bid to pare down the size of the protest’s footprint.

Mayor Jim Watson outlined the proposal in a letter released on Sunday as part of a backchannel deal aimed at ending the ongoing protest against pandemic health measurers.

One of the protest organizers, Tamara Lich, tweeted late Sunday night that the trucks would be leaving residential areas on Monday.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is expected to speak with premiers today about the protest that started three weekends ago outside his office in Ottawa that has since spawned copycat demonstrations that have shut down several border crossings.

One of those crossings, the busy Ambassador Bridge connecting Windsor, Ont. and Detroit, Mich. reopened Sunday night after Windsor police cleared and arrested protesters blocking traffic. The bridge carries hundreds of millions of dollars in cross-border trade daily between the U.S. and Canada, and its weeklong blockade had become a key concern for the White House.

Trudeau spoke on Sunday night with senior federal officials and cabinet ministers about further actions the government can take to end the nationwide blockades and protests.

Frustration over the protest has become palpable in the national capital where residents launched counter-protests over the weekend against the so-called Freedom Convoy.

The protesters are decrying federal vaccine mandates and provincial COVID-19 restrictions aimed at slowing the spread of the virus, some of which are being rolled back by provinces.

But protesters have also used the demonstrations to denounce Trudeau and called for the removal of his government.

—The Canadian Press

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