Canadian police made the first Freedom Convoy arrests late Thursday evening. In the last three weeks, demonstrators involved in protests against Canada’s oppressive pandemic restrictions and the blockade of Ottawa’s downtown core were given multiple warnings from police and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
Now, they’re taking action against the protest organizers.
As The Wall Street Journal notes:
One of the protest group’s organizers, Chris Barber, was among those arrested. His lawyer, Keith Wilson, said Mr. Barber was arrested on allegations that included counseling to commit mischief and obstruction of justice.
After Barber’s detention, another organizer was arrested late last night.
CBC News’ David Cochrane reported:
Convoy organizer Tamara Lich was arrested Thursday evening by Ottawa police and also remains in police custody. Both she and Chris Barber – who was arrested earlier – are expected to be charged criminally, according to sources.
In a video posted on social media earlier that day, Lich predicted her arrest while urging demonstrators to remain peaceful.
Before beginning their crackdown, Ottawa police erected nearly 100 checkpoints around the city in an effort to prevent more protestors from joining the movement.
They also distributed fliers, which read, “You will face severe penalties under provincial and federal legislation if you do not cease further unlawful activity and remove your vehicle and/or property immediately from all unlawful protest sites.”
In an eerily January 6th-esque semblance, police also set up concrete barriers and installed fencing around Parliament Hill.
A majority of Canada’s House of Commons and Senate must vote on giving Trudeau’s government the power to enforce the Emergencies Act. Doing so would empower Trudeau to curtail civil liberties for 30 days to “restore order.”
The arrests began days after the Ottawa police chief resigned from his position and was replaced with interim chief Steve Bell.
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