“We will be running this operation around the clock until residents and the community are back to their entire city,” Ottawa Police Acting Chief Steve Bell said Friday.
Amid horns, the beat of a drum and the sound of a plastic trumpet, protesters on Friday shouted “shame on you”, “hold the line” and “it’s our tax money at work to the police forming a barrier in front of them.
As their numbers dwindled early Saturday, some protesters shoveled snow to form barricades to make it harder for police to enter. Law enforcement armed with batons and rifles, some on horseback, seemed to be advancing at a faster pace than the day before.
‘We told you to leave,’ Ottawa police said in a tweet On Saturday. “We gave you time to leave. We were slow and methodical, but you were aggressive and aggressive with the officers and the horses.
Canada’s Parliament is set to resume debate on Saturday on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s controversial invocation on Monday of the never-before-used Emergency Measures Act of 1988, which gives the government sweeping powers for up to 30 days. . Parliament must vote within seven days of invoking the act to approve or reject it.
Under the Emergency Measures Act, banks must freeze assets suspected of being used to fund the convoy and can suspend insurance and commercial accounts linked to vehicles found here. Police handed out thousands of dollars in fines to drivers, several of whom told the Post they did not expect to pay and would take legal action.
The policy states that they can retroactively issue fines or charge documented people with breaking the laws.
It is expected to be approved, although its use has drawn criticism from both left and right that it goes too far.
On Thursday, police set up about 100 checkpoints and other road closures in downtown Ottawa to prevent reinforcements from protesters.
With so many moving parts — the presence of children, the possibility of violence, tight vehicles and combustible fuel — police have taken a largely restrained approach, even by Canadian standards. Police, some in tactical gear, continued to leave open exits for protesters and drivers who decide to leave.
“You have to go,” said a police recording played on a loop Friday to a crowd as a drone circled overhead. “You will be arrested.
Among those arrested are three key organizers of the convoy – Alberta separatist Tamara Lich, far-right agitator Chris Barber and Pat King, who said “bullets” were the only way to end health mandates. Another key influencer, former Royal Canadian Mounted Police officer Daniel Bulford, went on Friday.
Barber was released on bail Friday night on the condition that he leave Ottawa and not contact or fund the convoy, according to the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. Lich is due in court on Saturday for counseling mischief.
Lich, Barber, along with a third organizer who left Ottawa on Friday, Benjamin Dichter, are named in a proposed C$306 million class action lawsuit filed by Ottawa resident Zexi Li, 21, for damages caused by events.
As protesters have held block parties over the past three weekends while police were there, many Ottawa residents have complained of being harassed and intimidated by some protesters and not being able to sleep or working amid incessant horns and jammed streets.
Peter Sloly resigned as Ottawa Police Chief on Tuesday after heavy criticism of his department’s handling of the unrest.
Some protesters demanded an end to all pandemic-related mandates. Others said they wanted Trudeau ousted or tried in court. The convoys in Canada, which also targeted and closed border crossings, inspired imitators in European capitals.
But Stephanie Carvin, an associate professor of international relations at Carleton University in Ottawa, said it was not “a movement led by truckers frustrated by warrants.”
“It is a movement of anti-government extremists who have managed to capitalize on the exhaustion of many Canadians who are frustrated after four lockdowns and are entering the third year of this year. [pandemic]”, she said. “They were able to frame their grievances around this issue.”
“The success of this movement will depend on its ability to structure itself around the new issue which is attracting a lot of support,” she added.
On Friday afternoon, police said one officer suffered minor injuries.
Later that evening, video circulated showing a police horse ramming into a line of protesters, many of whom appeared to fall to the ground. . The police said a bicycle was thrown at the horse and that to their knowledge, anyone who fell got away unscathed. Convoy supporters disputed this account. Additionally, false rumors spread online that someone had died in the incident.
After days of defiance, protesters largely failed to stop convoy members from leaving, at least temporarily.
Andreas Alexopoulos, 25, left town on Thursday, he said, for an appointment at his home in Montreal after 16 days in his car.
On Friday, he said he planned to return once he received the address of a temporary site being set up outside the city until the convoy could return to Ottawa.
“We think it’s something temporary,” he said of the arrests. “We don’t think they will for long.”