(CNN)Canadian authorities continue to face protests over Covid-19 regulations that are now stretching into a second week of blocked roads and boisterous demonstrations.
Initially stemming from a group of truckers driving into the heart of Ottawa on January 29, other protests sprouted over the weekend in major cities spanning the nation, including Vancouver, Winnipeg, Toronto and Quebec City.
Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson declared a state of emergency Sunday afternoon as the capital city has become a focal point of the “Freedom Convoy” protests.
“Declaring a state of emergency reflects the serious danger and threat to the safety and security of residents posed by the ongoing demonstrations and highlights the need for support from other jurisdictions and levels of government,” Watson said in a statement.
At least seven arrests were made Sunday in connection to the ongoing demonstration, the Ottawa Police Service said, and at least 450 citations have been issued since Saturday morning.
Demonstrators “exhibited extremely disruptive and unlawful behaviour,” police said in a statement, which created “risks to public safety and unacceptable distress” for residents.
While mostly acting peacefully to voice their disapproval of recent vaccine mandates, demonstrators’ tactics of idling trucks and blocking motorways have become a greater nuisance with each passing day for residents and businesses.
The majority of businesses in downtown Ottawa have been closed for more than a week or have been operating with reduced hours, and owners are complaining to city officials that they are hitting financial difficulties as customers dwindle.
But some attendees of the protests say they’re not going anywhere until changes are made.
“The whole event has gone beyond just vaccines and it is now about the entire ordeal,” protester James MacDonald told CNN, adding he’s been in Ottawa since last weekend and has no intention of leaving until health measures are dropped.
The demonstrations began as an objection to a recent vaccine mandate requiring truckers entering Canada to either be fully vaccinated or face testing and quarantine requirements. But other protesters have since joined to rail against mask mandates, lockdowns, restrictions on gatherings and other Covid-19 preventative efforts.
Ottawa police investigating potential hate crimes
As of Sunday morning, road closures and barricades remained in place across much of Ottawa, especially in the city’s downtown core, according to police. The Ottawa Police Service has repeatedly advised demonstrators to “not enter Ottawa, and go home.”
Regarding the unruly demeanor from some of those protesting on Ottawa roadways, police said they issued hundreds of notices over the weekend, including for excessive honking, driving the wrong way or on a sidewalk, not wearing a seat belt, having alcohol readily available and having the improper class of driving license.
Multiple vehicles and fuel have been seized, police said, and they are advising “anyone found bringing fuel to the demonstration trucks in red zone could be subject to arrest and charges.”
Police said Sunday they have responded to more than 650 calls for service in relation to the demonstrations since they began.
The city’s hate-motivated crime hotline — established after reports of anti-Semitic, racist and homophobic acts — has also received more than 200 calls, according to police.
“We already have a number of hate-related incidents that we’re investigating,” Ottawa Police Chief Peter Sloly said last week. “We encourage anyone who’s been the victim of a hate crime or think they may have been the victim of a hate crime or exposed to hate incidents to contact us.”
The majority of the more than 60 criminal investigations so far involve mischief, thefts, hate crimes and property damage, according to police.
A weekend of arrests and protests
In Vancouver, five people were arrested Saturday as police received reports of “rocks and eggs being thrown, cars being kicked, and nails being strewn on roadways,” police said. Several hundred vehicles traveled through the city en route to the demonstration, Vancouver Police said.
The five people were taken to jail and have since been released from custody, police said.
One of them, a 29-year-old US citizen from Washington state, was arrested after officers saw him wearing a balaclava and pulling a wagon full of egg cartons. The man had a knife in a sheath tied to his belt, and two eggs in his jacket pocket, police said.
“Everyone has the right to peacefully assemble and express their views, and the Vancouver Police Department is committed to providing a safe environment for lawful protest,” said police Sgt. Steve Addison. “Today’s protests attracted thousands of people who feel passionately about their causes. While most protesters were peaceful, some had to be arrested for violent behavior and unlawful conduct.”
In Toronto, Canada’s largest city, thousands took to the streets Saturday. And despite the efforts of Toronto police, several trucks blocked a major intersection for hours.
Police reported problems clearing the way for emergency vehicles close to the protest, warning again in a statement this was “unacceptable and will not be tolerated.”
Quebec City similarly reported thousands of protesters and hundreds of trucks clogging streets while residents and visitors tried to enjoy a winter carnival.
In Winnipeg, a demonstration Friday night turned dangerous when a man drove into a crowd, hitting four people, according to the Winnipeg Police Department.
Three of the people who were hit didn’t require medical attention and the fourth person was treated and released from an area hospital, police said.
The suspect, who was arrested after a brief struggle with law enforcement, faces 11 charges, including assault with a weapon, dangerous operation of a conveyance, and failure to stop after an accident, authorities said.
CNN’s Joe Sutton, Keith Allen, Laura James, Melissa Alonso, Caroline Kucera, Caroll Alvarado, Eric Levenson and Hannah Sarisohn contributed to this report.