Freedom convoy in Canada: Police build more in Ottawa

According to interim Ottawa Police Chief Steve Bell, officers will use “legitimate technology” if necessary to clear protesters from the streets.

“Action is imminent,” he said. “Over the past few days, we have been in direct communication with unlawful protesters. We have told them they should leave, and we have warned them of the consequences for disobeying these rules.”

Ottawa police began barricading and fencing downtown on Thursday in an effort to clear the area of ​​protesters, who have used trucks to block city streets and to be dispersed by police. Disregarded between calls.

According to Bell, the safe zone will ensure that “people seeking entry for illegal reasons such as joining a protest cannot enter the city center.” With approximately 100 outposts, the perimeter covers most of the downtown area of ​​Ottawa and is much larger than the protest footprint to date.

Officials said those who live, work or have a valid reason to be in the area will be allowed entry.

“We have a very deliberate plan that will settle and it will take time for us to make progress in order to be able to completely remove anyone completely from the core. So I can tell you that this weekend is from the last three weekends. Will look very different,” Bell added.

He said, “I will say it again, we want people to leave in peace. But I can tell you that if they don’t go peacefully, we have a plan, a strategy and a strategy to let them go.”

Two organizers of the protest have been arrested and charged, a lawyer told CNN on Thursday.

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“Chris Barber and Tamara Licht have both been arrested and are being held in prison,” wrote Keith Wilson, an attorney who represents both in legal matters related to protests and fundraising.

Wilson said, Barber has been charged with counseling for causing mischief, obstructing and obstructing, and Lich has been charged with counseling for mischief.

Videos posted on social media show Licht conversing with a police officer, then handcuffed and escorted to a police cruiser.

Ottawa police would not confirm the arrest and said an update would be provided on Friday. CNN attempted to contact other Freedom Convoy organizers, but did not receive a response.

Licht has encouraged protesters to convene in Ottawa, and has recently called on supporters to continue their protest despite it being outlawed. She created a GoFundMe campaign for “Freedom Convoy,” which raised millions of dollars before being suspended by the platform.
The convoy first arrived in Ottawa on January 29 to express disapproval of a vaccine mandate to enter the country or face testing requirements. In the span of more than two weeks, the protest has turned into a widespread complaint against any and all COVID-19 measures, including wearing of masks and vaccinations.
Police officers gather in the street during a protest against pandemic health regulations outside the Parliament of Canada in Ottawa on February 17, 2022.

Trudeau defends call for emergency powers

Amid protests in parliament, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau defended his decision to invoke emergency powers to end demonstrations during an address to legislators on Thursday.

Officials have said a primary purpose of enacting the emergency act is to withhold funds to protesters in Ottawa.

“These illegal blockades are being heavily supported by people in the United States and around the world,” Trudeau said. “We see that almost half of the money that barricades are getting here is coming from the United States. All the measures, including the financial measures in the Emergency Act, are aimed only at tackling the current threat, and to get the situation under complete control. is in.”

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The Act, passed in 1988 and never used before, can temporarily suspend the free movement of citizens or the rights of assembly. It could also provide for the use of the military, but Trudeau has said this would not be necessary.

“We did this to protect families and small businesses. To protect jobs and the economy. We did it because the situation could not be dealt with under any other law in Canada,” Trudeau said. “For the good of all Canadians, illegal blockades and businesses have to stop, and borders have to remain open.”

Border crossing blockades in Alberta and Ontario ended this week, with police clearing areas as arrests are being made. Four individuals have been charged with conspiracy to commit murder at a blockade in Coutts, Alberta, and several arms and ammunition have been confiscated.
Another blockade in Manitoba ended without incident, officials said. The port of entry connecting Surrey, British Columbia with Blaine, Washington, has also been reopened.
Conservative Party interim leader Candice Bergen said Wednesday that the party would not support a proposal by the federal government to fully use those powers, according to CNN newsgathering partner CTV.

“The first act he does when he has a chance to do something — he doesn’t go through phase one, two, three — he goes straight to the 100 and enacts the emergency act,” Bergen told CTV News. . “I don’t think anything we see will change our view, we will oppose it.”

According to CTV, the government must propose a resolution in both the House and Senate explaining why federal officials need the powers and what action will be taken, then both the House and Senate must ratify the motions.

“Until the situation is resolved, the federal government will work with premiers across the country,” Trudeau said.

“As I said on Monday, the scope of the Emergency Act is limited and targeted, as well as fair and divided. It strengthens and supports law enforcement agencies, so they have the power to restore order and protect critical infrastructure. There are more tools for that.”

CNN’s Raja Razek, Chris Boyat, Amir Vera and Jen Selva contributed to this report.


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