Ottawa Police Arrest Protesters To End Canadian Trucker Blockade

Ottawa police have asked protesters to “remain peaceful and lawful” as they moved in to clear an occupation that has blockaded the centre of the Canadian capital for three weeks.

A large group of Canadian truckers and their supporters converged on Ottawa on January 28 protesting coronavirus restrictions and demanding they be ended. Trucks blocked the streets around Parliament Hill and have remained since occupying several residential blocks.
Dozens of police vehicles, including a large black armoured car, and about 100 police officers arrived near the Ottawa Art Gallery at about 8am (13:00 GMT) on Friday, where about 20 vehicles have been parked since late January, blocking the roadway.
“If you do not leave now, you will be arrested,” police said, banging on windows of vehicles, Al Jazeera’s Roger Lemoyne reported. At least four people were arrested.
Ottawa police have increased their presence in the downtown core of Ottawa over the past several days, as they coordinated with Ontario provincial police and federal Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) to clear out participants in the so-called “Freedom Convoy”.
Ottawa and Ontario provincial police were among the forces moving people at the site about 1km (0.62 miles) from Parliament Hill on Friday, a day after two leaders of the convoy had been arrested.
“DEMONSTRATORS: You must leave. You must cease further unlawful activity and immediately remove your vehicle and/or property from all unlawful protest sites. Anyone within the unlawful protest site may be arrested,” the Ottawa Police Service tweeted.
A black pick-up truck with a Canadian flag on the back was allowed to leave the area, while some cars appeared to be empty. Tow trucks began arriving on Friday morning to move big rigs downtown, CBC News reported.

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The protest movement, organised by far-right activists, sparked other demonstrations in Canada, including several on the US-Canada border, halting trade for days and forcing the shutdown of auto plants in both countries because of parts shortages.
Protesters at the Ambassador Bridge, the busiest crossing, were cleared out on Sunday, with more than two dozen people arrested, police said.
On Monday, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau invoked never-before-used emergency powers to give his government more powers to help police move the protesters.
He said the “measures will be time-limited, geographically-targeted, as well as reasonable and proportionate to the threats they are meant to address”.
Amid news that the police were going to end the blockades, Canada’s House of Commons cancelled its work on Friday. Lawmakers had been expected to debate the Liberal government’s use of the Emergencies Act.
The Canadian Civil Liberties Association (CCLA) has announced it plans to sue the federal government for its decision to invoke the emergency measure, saying it had not met the necessary legal standard.
“We do not want to minimize the impacts of the protests that are occurring across the country. But, while some of the blockades have been immensely disruptive, it is unclear that the ongoing protests ‘endanger the lives, health or safety of Canadians’ so as to rise to the threshold of a national emergency under the law,” Abby Deshman, Director of Criminal Justice for the CCLA, said in a statementon Thursday.

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