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Doug Ford makes statement ahead of Toronto convoy protest, calls Ottawa situation 'an occupation'

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Ontario Premier Doug Ford said he has full confidence Toronto police will be able to handle Saturday’s convoy protest and there will be "zero tolerance" for any potential acts of violence. 

Ford made the comments during a virtual news conference with Canada's premiers on Friday.

"Any harassment or acts of hatred or acts of violence will have zero tolerance," Ford said.

Ford said he has been in contact with Toronto Mayor John Tory and Ottawa Major Jim Watson to offer whatever resources are necessary. 

Protesters are expected to arrive in Toronto on Saturday and will gather at Queen's Park.

Part of University Avenue has been closed in preparation for the protest, in order to ensure emergencies services have access to Hospital Row. 

Residents have been warned to expect a large police presence in the downtown core during the protests. 

Meanwhile, in Ottawa, protesters have gathered for nearly a week and have said they won’t leave until Canada removes COVID-19-related mandates.

"What is happening in Ottawa, in my opinion, is unacceptable," Ford said. "Regarding Ottawa, the occupations, it’s not a protest anymore, it’s become an occupation."

Ford said the protesters are hurting local businesses in a "big way" and believes it’s time for the situation to "come to and end."

"You think we like lockdowns or pubic health measures? We don’t,” Ford said, adding he believes "They were necessary."

Ford said the situation in Ontario hospitals is improving day-by-day and the province is "so close to getting back to normal."

"We have to be united as Ontarians, as Canadians," Ford said.

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