Canadian police have arrested the leaders of a movement against health measures that have been blocking the streets of Ottawa for nearly three weeks since Thursday evening.
“If you want to leave on your own, now’s the time,” Ottawa Police Chief Steve Bell told protesters this afternoon, warning that this weekend would be “very different from the last three.”
In the evening, police made the first arrests: Tamara Lich, one of the organizers of the so-called “Freedom Convoy”, was arrested by police, the movement’s official account said in a tweet, “in support” of the video. . In the pictures, we see her getting into a police car with handcuffs, surrounded by two police officers, and shouting “Hold” to her comrades.
Not long ago, another leader, Chris Barber, was arrested, where a quiet arrest was filmed by members of the movement and posted on social media.
For the first time since the movement began, groups of police officers heavily positioned themselves to block the streets of Ottawa on Thursday with protesters and hundreds of trucks. “We are ready to expel illegal protesters from our streets,” Bell added, referring to “immediate” intervention.
A security perimeter wall has been erected around the city center and about a hundred roadblocks have been set up to control entry into the area.
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A few meters away, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Thursday morning assessed the challenge as no longer “peaceful,” using a second exception rule on Monday during a historic debate in the House of Commons on the implementation of legislation on emergency measures. Time in Canada’s Peace History.
“The purpose of all actions, including the financial measures provided for in the Emergency Act, is to meet the current threat and bring the situation under full control,” Justin Trudeau said. In a letter to provincial chiefs on Wednesday evening, he described the movement as “a threat to democracy” and “Canada’s reputation abroad.”
Finance Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Christiaan Freeland told a news conference that “bank accounts of individuals and companies” associated with the ban had been frozen. Calling the situation “safe,” Public Security Minister Marco Mendicino said the “illegal border blockades” had cost the Canadian economy billions of dollars.
Protesters, determined to stay “until the end,” received a final warning from police on Wednesday as they circled trucks to distribute leaflets urging them to “leave the premises.”
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