Canadian police arrest protesters and tow rigs in Ottawa

OTTAWA (Ontario) -- Police began to arrest people and tow away vehicles Friday to end the three-week-old siege of Canada's capital. This was in response to hundreds of truckers who were angry about COVID-19 restrictions.

Canadian police arrest protesters and tow rigs in Ottawa

Canadian police arrest protesters and tow rigs in Ottawa

OTTAWA (Ontario) -- Police began to arrest people and tow away vehicles Friday to end the three-week-old siege of Canada's capital. This was in response to hundreds of truckers who were angry about COVID-19 restrictions.

As protesters chanted in defiance, hundreds of officers in riot gear descended on the area. At least one RV camper was robbed by police before being taken away.

Tow truck drivers arrived wearing neon-green ski masks and their company decals taped to their trucks to hide their identities. They were escorted by police and began to remove the large rigs and campers parked near Parliament.

Authorities did not give an estimate of the number or severity of injuries sustained in the largest police enforcement action in Canada's history. Around midday, Doug Ford, Ontario Premier, stated that there were signs that he is beginning to see some progress.

However, many others protestors stood firm.

Montreal trucker Kevin Homaund said, "Freedom wasn't ever free." "So what if they handcuff us and put us in jail?

After three weeks of protests and blockades, the capital and its paralyzed streets were the movement's last stronghold. They caused economic damage to both the U.S. and Canada and created a political crisis in Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's government. They also damaged Canada's reputation as a civil country, with some of the unrest foes blaming the United States.

Authorities have resisted many protestors over the past few weeks due to fear of violence. Right-wing extremists, veterans, and some of them armed, have been attracted to the demonstrations.

The government and police are facing accusations of allowing the protests to grow and spread. Trudeau invoked Canada's Emergencies Act on Monday, which gives law enforcement extraordinary authority. Trudeau also gave Canada's Emergencies Act extraordinary authority to declare the blockades illegal and tow away trucks. He also allowed police to suspend drivers' licenses and to freeze their bank accounts. To stop outsiders from helping the protesters, they also closed off large stretches of downtown.

Law enforcement authorities were also able to force tow truck companies into helping them by enforcing the emergency act. Ottawa police stated earlier that they could not find drivers who would help due to their sympathies with the movement, or fear of retaliation.

Police were trying to end the siege when Pat King, a protest leader known for making white supremacist remarks in the past, called truckers "Please remain peaceful" while also telling them to be calm.

King posted on Facebook: "You are committed to career suicide." "We know exactly where the trucks came."

Officers surrounded King in his car and later arrested him.

Ottawa police made it clear that they would end the protest at any time and remove more than 300 trucks. Even as the operation was in progress, police issued another round via loudspeaker and social media warning protestors that they were ready to end the demonstration and remove all trucks.

Instead of forming a line to push them back, some officers locked arms with the others.

This is not Canada. One woman shouted, "We don't need to split country!"

Dan Holland, a London Ontario protester, packed his car and parked it among the trucks as police closed in. He said, "I don’t want to be beat up by these police."

Children stood among the crowd, covered in hats and coats. Police stated that protesters had placed the children in the middle of the confrontation and that they would bring them to safety.

Two protest leaders who were arrested on Friday morning were due to appear in court. Mischief and obstruction of police are two of the charges.

Many Ottawa residents were furious at the occupation. They complained of being intimidated and harassed on the streets. A court injunction was obtained to stop truckers from honking their horns.

Protesters in trucks, motor homes and tractors protested the Canadian vaccine requirement for truckers entering Canada. However, the demonstrations quickly morphed into an attack on Trudeau's government and COVID-19 precautions.

Trudeau described the protesters in a "fringe" role. Canadians have generally accepted COVID-19's restrictions. The vast majority of Canadians are vaccinated including approximately 90% of Canada's truckers. Some of the mandates for vaccines and masks that were imposed by the provinces are rapidly falling apart.

The largest border blockade was at the Ambassador Bridge, Windsor, Ontario and Detroit. It stopped the flow of parts between the two countries, and forced the industry into a halt in production. After dozens of protesters were arrested, authorities lifted the siege.

On Wednesday, the final border blockade in Manitoba was lifted across from North Dakota.

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