Police action to arrest truckers begins on Day 22 of protest after leaders taken into custody on Thursday
‘It’s intimidating’: Ottawa residents furious about Canada trucker protests
Police in Ottawa made forceful arrests, using pepper spray and stun grenades as law enforcement steps up its response to the trucker protests that have gripped the Canadian capital for weeks, in demonstration against Covid-19 restrictions and vaccine mandates.
Riot police armed with batons and rifles moved to clear out sections of downtown Ottawa on Saturday, where protesters have parked trucks and largely disrupted the flow of normal life in the city. The New York Times reported that some arrests were made at gunpoint.
The assembled anti-vaccine mandate activists chanted, “Shame on you!” at officers as they made arrests.
Canada’s parliament has shutdown and cancelled plans for a debate about the implementation of the Emergencies Act amid the ongoing police operation.
Under the Emergencies Act invoked by prime minister Justin Trudeau, law enforcement officials have the ability to arrest people for obstruction of roadways and disruptive behaviour. Authorities also have the power to seize vehicles, freeze bank accounts, and cancel licences.
Police started moving in on Friday morning and have been slowly, but steadily advancing, pushing protesters back towards the centre of the convoy.
Twenty-one vehicles were towed and least 100 people were taken into custody, according to officials, with some demonstrators found with smoke grenades and fireworks in their bags.
Since Wednesday, increasingly stern messages to truckers have warned them to go or face criminal charges. Many appeared determined to stay, but quietly some have heeded the warnings and left.
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