Plaque commemorating ‘Battle of Billings Bridge’ during ‘Freedom Convoy’ removed

A commemorative plaque celebrating a watershed moment of citizen resistance to the ‘Freedom Convoy’ last year has been taken down.

The plaque commemorated the so-called ‘Battle of Billings Bridge,’ when hundreds of people blocked an intersection to prevent convoy protesters from driving downtown on the third weekend of the occupation.

The plaque, designed to look exactly like an official city of Ottawa plaque, was posted near Riverside Drive and Bank Street.

“At this spot on February 13, 2022, everyday citizens and Ram Ranch Resistance members peacefully stood in the way of those who had trampled citizens’ right to peace, free movement and free expression,” the plaque read.

“This plaque commemorates the ordinary people who did something extraordinary when their leaders would not.”

However, by late Thursday night, the plaque had been removed. A tool that appeared to have been used to remove the plaque was left at the scene. 

The plaque was made of brass and glued onto the bridge with construction adhesive. It’s not clear who made it or put it up, or who removed it.

By late Thursday night, the unofficial plaque commemorating the ‘Battle of Billings Bridge’ had been removed. (Natalie van Rooy/CTV News Ottawa)

Earlier Thursday, a city spokesman said it was “reviewing the matter” but did not say whether they planned to remove it.

“The City of Ottawa did not install a plaque on Billings Bridge at the Bank Street and Riverside Drive intersection and is currently reviewing the matter,” a city spokesman said in a statement attributed to Dan Chenier, general manager of recreation, cultural and facility services.

The Billings Bridge protest lasted for hours and turned into a symbolic act of resistance from residents who were fed up with the convoy’s occupation of downtown.

Hundreds of volunteers, including some local politicians, gathered to block about 35 trucks that had been headed to join protesters downtown

The truck drivers were eventually allowed to leave one at a time, but only after their trucks were stripped of flags, jerry cans and any ‘Freedom Convoy’ paraphernalia.

Earlier Thursday, Sean Burges, a Carleton University professor whose post on Facebook the night before kickstarted the Billings Bridge protest, said he thought the plaque should stay up.

A plaque commemorating the ‘Battle of Billings Bridge’ during the ‘Freedom Convoy’ protests erected at the bridge. The plaque is designed to look like an official city of Ottawa commemoration. (Tyler Fleming/CTV News Ottawa)

“I love it. It’s an absolutely brilliant piece of guerilla protest art,” he said. “I think it would be an absolute travesty if the city came and decided to take that plaque down.”

“They don’t have credibility on this front, so they’re best just to leave it.”

Andrea Harden, who was among the first people at the protest that day, agreed.

“I think it’s brilliant. Kudos to whoever did it,” she said. “I think it was well-intentioned and a way of marking what was kind of like that first domino that led to the end of the convoy downtown.”

“I really think this speaks to the creativity of the community that was here, and a moment in time in which people were saying enough is enough, this has to end.”

Harden remembers the protest as a community coming together and taking a stand.

“The one thing that really brought so many people together on that day was this feeling of helplessness, this feeling like this occupation was happening…and a frustration that nothing was being done about it.”

Burges and Harden both said they have no idea who made the plaque. But Burges said he wants to buy them a coffee or a beer.

The plaque was installed slightly crooked, so Burges did have a suggestion for city crews.

“Maybe what the city could do is actually come and put it in properly.”

– with files from Tyler Fleming and Natalie van Rooy, CTV News Ottawa

View original article here Source