ATTAVA, NA – Police began to arrest demonstrators on Friday in an attempt to break a three-week siege of Canada capital with difficulty hundreds truckers, angry due to restrictions in COVID-19.
Officers walked from door to door alternately trucks, campers and other vehicles parked in the snow-covered streets of Ottawa.
Some protesters surrendered and were taken into custody, police said. Some were handcuffed. One person who was taken away was wearing a sign reading “Mandate Freedom”.
Many of the truckers remained cheeky.
“Freedom has never been free,” said trucker Kevin Homound of Montreal. “What if they handcuff us and put us in jail?”
The police made his first step to stop the occupation on Thursday late in the evening, arresting two key protest leaders. They also blocked most of the city center from outsiders to prevent them from helping self-proclaimed Freedom Convoy protesters.
The capital was the last last pillar of the movement three weeks of demonstrations and the blockades that closed U.S. border crossings have caused economic damage to both countries and created a political crisis for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. They have also shaken Canada’s civilized reputation, with some opponents of the unrest blaming United States influence.
Authorities have fluctuated against many protesters across the country in recent weeks, in part for fear of violence. The demonstrations drew right-wing extremists and veterans, some of them armed.
If the police and the government faces charges that they allowed to recruit strength and expanses, Truda Monday referred to the Law of Canada on Emergency Situations, giving law enforcement agencies to declare illegal blockade, tow trucks, arresting drivers, suspend their rights and freeze their bank accounts.
Ottawa police on Thursday made it clear they were preparing to end the protest and remove more than 300 trucks, with the city’s interim police chief warning: “Action is imminent.”
The operation in Ottawa on Friday began in the morning when police systematically arrested protesters a few blocks from Parliament Hill, the heart of the protest zone, where trucks stood shoulder to shoulder. Some officers had automatic weapons and wore tactical uniforms.
Shortly after the arrests began, at least one large installation was set aside near the facade of parliament.
But despite warnings of retirement posted by police on social media, several protesters danced in the streets to the Beastie Boys’ anthem “(You Gotta) Fight for Your Right (To Party!)” And “Get Up, Stand Up” by Bob Marley . shouting: “Freedom!”
Two protest leaders arrested were due to take place in court on Friday. Among the charges: pranks and obstruction of police.
The bumper-to-bumper occupation has outraged many Ottawa residents, who have complained of harassment and intimidation in the streets and have sought a court order to stop the incessant buzzing of trucks.
Demonstrations across the country by demonstrators in trucks, tractors and motorhomes initially focused on Canada’s demands for a vaccine for truckers entering the country, but soon escalated into a widespread attack on precautionary measures against COVID-19 and the Trudeau government.
The biggest border blockade on the Ambassador Bridge between Windsor, Ontario and Detroit, disrupted the flow of auto parts between the two countries and forced the industry to cut production. Authorities withdrew the riot last weekend after the arrest of dozens of protesters.
The last blockade of the border in Manitoba, opposite North Dakota, ended peacefully on Wednesday.
The protests were supported and received donations from conservatives in the United States
Gillis reported from Toronto.
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