News / Ottawa

Ottawa Police bubble zone will ease protests

New bill makes it illegal to protest within 50 metres of a clinic.

A man reads the bible out loud as he protests across the street from the Morgentaler Clinic, which provides abortions, in Ottawa, Thursday, Oct. 19, 2017.

Justin Tang / Toronto Star

A man reads the bible out loud as he protests across the street from the Morgentaler Clinic, which provides abortions, in Ottawa, Thursday, Oct. 19, 2017.

Ottawa Police are optimistic new legislation will help them ease confrontations between protesters and clients of a downtown abortion clinic.

The Ontario government passed legislation last week creating buffer zones around abortion clinics in the province, where protesters can not stand.

The Morgentaler Clinic in downtown Ottawa is frequently targeted by protestors.

Staff Sgt. Martin Groulx said there is a challenge today where protestors can confront those going into a clinic and police have limited powers because the protestors have a right to be there.

“It’s been a challenge because people are confronted and some of the images used are quite graphic,” he said. “They have a right to protest. They’re not doing anything illegal

He said the new law is going to create some distance and reduce tensions.

“It would basically push the protestors quite a distance from the clinic,” he said. “It will ease confrontations between the protestors and the clients going there.”

He said the protestors aren’t breaking the law now, but if they continue after it comes into force.

“The actions they’re currently doing will be illegal according to the act.”

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