Police arrest at least 70 in Ottawa

Canadian police on Friday arrested at least 70 protesters in Ottawa associated with the “Freedom Convoy” protests, a demonstration that dragged on for about three weeks as truckers protested a vaccine mandate and COVID-19 restrictions.

After Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau invoked the nation’s emergencies act earlier this week, police moved in Friday morning to detain dozens of holdouts in the protest zone and towed away at least two dozen vehicles, The Associated Press reported. Demonstrators were arrested mostly on mischief charges.

Some scuffles broke out as protesters sung the national anthem, “O, Canada!” But demonstrators did not seem deterred by the breakup of the weeks-long demonstrations.

“Freedom was never free,” said trucker Kevin Homaund, of Montreal, to the AP. “So what if they put the handcuffs on us and they put us in jail?”

Friday’s clearing out of the protest zone appears to be the last “Freedom Convoy” demonstration left in Canada, although similar efforts have appeared in countries from New Zealand to Europe.

The largest blockade at the Ambassador Bridge, connecting Detroit, Mich., to Windsor, Ontario, ended on Sunday when police arrested the last of the demonstrators.

Another blockade at Manitoba, across from North Dakota, ended peacefully on Sunday, the AP reported.

On Thursday, Trudeau appeared before the Canadian Parliament to discuss the need to invoke the emergencies act to end the demonstrations.

“The blockades and occupations are illegal,” he said. “They’re a threat to our economy and relationship with trading partners. They are a threat to supply chains and the availability of essential goods, like food and medicine. They’re a threat to public safety.”

Tags arrests Canada freedom convoy Justin Trudeau Ottawa Trucker protests
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