Ottawa

February 21, 2022

Canadian police fenced off parts of downtown Ottawa on Sunday to reestablish control of the capital city after a weekend crackdown ended the so-called Freedom Convoy protest against COVID-19 restrictions. Officers made 191 arrests and towed nearly 80 vehicles. Truckers started the demonstration more than three weeks ago, blocking city streets with parked trucks to protest a vaccine mandate on cross-border truck drivers.The demonstration grew as others came to express opposition to other coronavirus restrictions. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau last week invoked emergency powers to give the government authority to shut down the protest. Police said they had gathered intelligence on departing protesters "to make sure that these illegal activities don't return to our streets."

February 18, 2022

Police moved in to arrest Canadian protesters in downtown Ottawa Friday morning, with the goal of ending weekslong demonstrations that have transformed into a referendum on the country's COVID-19 restrictions and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's handling of the pandemic, The Associated Press reports. Hundreds of officers began handcuffing protesters and towing away vehicles as truckers "blared their horns in defiance," AP writes. Though some on the streets surrendered, other invidiuals "remained defiant as the crackdown on the self-styled Freedom Convoy unfolded." The Ottawa Police have thus far reportedly accounted for 15 arrests, and have "created a perimeter with about 100 checkpoints in Ottawa's downtown core, to keep anyone but residents from entering," writes The New York Times. Canada's capital city has become the "last stronghold" in the truckers' political demonstration, AP notes. Authorities, who have until now "hesitated to move against many of the protesters," writes AP, arrested two of the convoy's main organizers — Tamara Lich and Chris Barber — late Thursday. Also this week, Trudeau declared a national public order emergency, "the first such declaration in half a century," in a bid to end the chaos, notes the Times.

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