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Truckers in Ottawa Protests Arrested at Gunpoint as Police Move Up

OTTAWA – Canadian police officers entered protesters with guns, smashing truck windows and arrested protesters in front of the country’s Parliament, an escalation of aggression in the government’s attempt to finally end three-week protests in the nation’s capital.

Officers dressed in riot gear, branded with batons and rifles, pushed to regain the area around Parliament, extending an operation that began Friday to remove parked trucks that had blocked the center. city ​​center.

In the center of the detention center, police batons pushed people back, and overturned a table displaying suspicious information about vaccine injuries. They advanced methodically in trucks, pushing protesters back, some of whom were shoved by police as protesters shouted, “Shame on you!”

An audio recording was played in French and English, as police moved forward. “You have to leave,” it said. “Anyone found in the area will be arrested.”

Within an hour of the operation, most of the trucks had departed from the center of the protest.

“We are taking control of the situation on the ground and continue to push for the cleanup of our streets,” Steve Bell, sheriff interim, said on Friday. said on Friday. “We’ll work day and night until it’s done.”

As of Saturday morning, police said at least 100 protesters had been arrested.

The police operation appeared to be the last in a belated government effort to break up the occupation, which began when a convoy of trucks became angry about a federal vaccine request, but has turned into a frenzy. larger movement. Soon after, protests drew many protesters expressing their displeasure over the pandemic’s restrictions, statements about the government’s overreach, and Prime Minister Justin’s role in governing the country. Trudeau.

The protests were loud and nonviolent, evoking the atmosphere of a carnival. But they have disrupted traffic throughout the capital, disrupted businesses and annoyed residents with the constant honking of car horns. Organizers trumpeted splendid castles in the streets, and people brought along small children and dogs. The DJs shoot music from the stage as the truck turns flat. Sometimes people soak in the hot tub set up in front of the Parliament building.

While protesters are more entrenched than ever, criticism of the government’s failure to remove the occupation built up across the country – and especially among many residents. Ottawa.

Kathryn Moore, an administrator at the University of Ottawa, said she lives close enough to the city center to hear the sirens of truckers when the wind blows in her direction. “I lost my patience after Week 2”

Mimic protests, including the blockade of a vital international trade route between Windsor, Ontario and Detroit, cost millions of dollars in lost revenue. And others, as far as France and New Zealand, have turned the world’s attention to the disruption in Ottawa, caused by an angry, but vocal minority, in a country with high injection rates. The highest strain in the world.

Efforts to route protesters began Friday at an impasse as police and protesters stood at forest focal points for more than five hours, an impasse that was ended by the sudden appearance of a unit of horses towering over the crowd. Police warned jostling protesters that they were attacking them, then deployed mounted officers to attack a parallel fault line between the two groups, the animals knocking over several protesters and stepped on at least one person. Police say they “don’t know” if anyone was injured in the battles.

Throughout the protest, public opinion has turned towards truckers – pandemic fatigue is running high here, in a country that frequently imposes strict coronavirus restrictions. Still like the whistles sounded incessantly – a trademark of the protest, even after the judge ordered it – many Canadians, especially locals, had lost their tolerance for the protesters. love.

Even so, some of the convoy’s self-appointed leaders have roots in right-wing organizations, including Tamara Lich, a former member of a pro-separatist fringe party for the western provinces. Trump, QAnon, or Confederate flags began to appear at a number of trucker rallies around the country. Police officers arrested a group of people carrying weapons participating in a blockade in Alberta.

On Monday, Mr. Trudeau declared a nationwide state of emergency of public order – the first such declaration in half a century – allowing the government to seize trucks and other vehicles used in the protests, blockade the stronghold of the protest and freeze anyone’s bank account. related.

A representative from the Canadian Civil Liberties Union, which plans to sue the government, said the move was “unnecessary, unwarranted and unconstitutional”. Mr. Trudeau and members of his cabinet have given repeated assurances that the move will not be used to suspend “fundamental rights”.

In any case, many of the powers Mr. Trudeau authorized on Monday have been given to police and emergency authorities in the province of Ontario.

The officers, supported by at least two armored vehicles, began forcing the protesters back to Parliament Hill. The heavy-duty trucks, whose company name was labeled Ottawa police, pulled away pickup trucks that hadn’t budged in weeks.

Barriers set up around the city were strictly enforced throughout the night. Cars going north were stopped and checked several times between the highway and Parliament. Pedestrians trying to pass police were warned they would be immediately arrested, which turned many people away.

“Terrible. A dark moment in Canadian history,” Dagny Pawlak, a spokesman for truckers, said Saturday. “I would never have believed anyone if they told me that our Prime Minister would refuse to talk and instead choose violence against peaceful protesters.”

Among those arrested were some of the protest’s most prominent leaders: Daniel Bulford, a former police officer, Tamara Lich, a singer turned right-wing activist, and Chris Barber, a talent truck driver and official spokesman for the movement.

On Friday, BJ Dichter, a spokesman for the convoy, wrote on Twitter that it was time for the protesters to leave, saying police had smashed the windows of a driver’s van. But some people still near the Capitol said they had no plans to go home even with law enforcement closed.

Mike Marsh, 48, said: “We couldn’t stop them, nodding towards the police. “All we can do is slow them down.”

https://www.nytimes.com/2022/02/19/world/canada/canada-truckers-arrested.html Truckers in Ottawa Protests Arrested at Gunpoint as Police Move Up

Fry Electronics Team

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