Freedom Convoy truckers occupying Canada's capital remained defiant Tuesday in the face of Justin Trudeau's draconian new measures aimed at smashing their protest.
The Prime Minister's Emergencies Act announcement has only served to harden the protestors' stand on Day 19 - despite them facing the possibility of their bank accounts being seized for taking part.
Other measures potentially covered by the act include greater police powers and towing companies being forced to drag away the 400 rigs clogging streets near Ottawa's Parliament Buildings.
But truckers stood firm as the city's police chief Peter Sloly resigned after coming under fire for his handling of the occupation.
Harold Jonker – who led the first convoy of truckers into the Canadian capital – defiantly declared: 'I am not worried about it'.
'What Trudeau is trying to do is scare us more than anything. Because at the end of the day he has no means to actually shut us down'.
'We are a peaceful protest and we are also legally here. And if he actually does try to seize our accounts it's going to backfire on him because the public is going to back us up.'
'No matter what he tries to do, the Canadian public right away adjusts how they support us and they will support us.
'Whatever he throws at us we can handle. We have been getting from the public an outcry of hope, joy and excitement because of what we are doing here.'
Jonker, who owns ten trucks in the blockade and has parked his personal vehicle at the epicenter of the protest, said the Freedom Convoy 2022 'command center' was continually devising strategies to deal with new developments.
Speaking amid the cacophony of noise from roaring truck engines and blaring music, he added: 'Obviously there are people in our command center that understand how all this works,' he said. 'And they are working day and night reacting to what Trudeau does.
'But also the Canadian public are reacting to what he does and it has always backfired on him.
'And the army is not coming in. That has been said publicly already.'
Jonker is one of the 'captains' of the Freedom Convoy, who helps organize truckers from the same region and who are all now parked up together. He led the Niagara convoy 350 miles, starting his journey from his home in St. Anns, Ontario, on January 27. He also dismissed the threat of tow companies being forced to grab vehicles.
'They are not going to be coming here, because if they come here they are actually going to be towing my trucks against my will – and they know that,' he said.
'They want to keep my business for the future.'
He continued: 'I was here the first day. I came in off the highway leading the Niagara convoy in. And I said to my wife as we came off the exit, I think we might be making world history here.
'Little did I know that we actually did.'
'Trudeau has already done the worst he can to our liberty. What's worse than not having the freedom to enjoy each other's company? What's worse than having families broken apart right now?'
Sitting in his rig next to Jonker, 71-year-old Bill – who refused to give his last name – said of the emergency powers: 'How does he (Trudeau) come up with the power to do this. It's like communism isn't it?
'They want us to bow down before him. '
'I'm staying, I have 19 grandchildren. I'm doing it for them as well. They can't play hockey, they can't go to university because they didn't get the injection.
'There are tons of lawyers around here who are working for free to help us.'
Bill also said many of the cops policing the occupation have sympathy with the truckers.
'On one street, all the trucks got parking tickets,' he said. 'You have to love some cops, right. They would ticket a Kenworth truck and write down Dodge on the ticket.
'The cop was doing what he was told, but he was on our side, a lot of them are on our side.'
Grain farmer Kevin Veurink, 39, of Hagersville, Ontario, has been living in his truck since day one of the protest. He said: 'I'm not concerned about the new measures. We're standing up for truth and what we believe.
'It depends how far they want to go, but to me it's all threats. They can make as many laws as they feel like making but the government is breaking the laws.
'People have to really wake up to that if they want to keep going down this path.
'We're in a bad spot anyway so I might as well stand up now,' Veurink added. 'The easiest time to stand up is as soon as you can, right.
'I'm here to see it through.'
Meanwhile police chief Sloly announced his resignation Tuesday following a meeting of the Police Services Board.
Sloly has been chief of Ottawa Police Service since 2019, overseeing a force of about 1,480 officers and 620 civilians. He said last week he had no plans to step down from his post.
'I came here to do a job and I'm going to get that job done all the way through,' he told CFRA Radio. 'Absolutely committed, have a great team here, great officers, we've got great partners in the city. We're going to get this done.'
Ottawa cops 'have a plan to end the occupation' of the city', the new interim police chief declared Tuesday.
Steve Bell, appointed after Sloly's resignation, said: 'I believe we now have the resources and partners to bring a safe end to this occupation.
'The Ottawa police are ready, eager to do what is our part.'
'With new leadership and stability from our command team, I'm confident that we can end this occupation.'
'I can absolutely assure you that we do have a plan to end this illegal occupation in our streets,' Bell said.
Sloly had been found himself under fierce criticism for supposedly not using the new posers that Ontario's state of emergency, declared last week, gave him.
In a statement, Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson Sloly for his 30+ years serving the Toronto and Ottawa police services.
But he added: 'Unfortunately, it had become clear that many members of the Police Board, City Council and the general public were not satisfied with the response of the police in bringing the occupation to an end.'
This article originally came from The Daily Mail