Ottawa police warn protesters blocking streets could be ‘arrested without warrant’

Associated Press / Arthur Mola

Police in the Canadian capital Ottawa warned that those participating in the “Freedom Convoy” protests blocking the city’s streets “could be arrested without a warrant,” the department said in a press release issued Wednesday.

“The unlawful act of blocking streets in the downtown core is resulting in people being denied the lawful use, enjoyment and operation of their property,” the department wrote. “We are providing you notice that anyone blocking streets or assisting others in the blocking of streets may be committing a criminal offence.”

“You could be arrested without a warrant for this offense if you are a party to the offense or assisting others in the direct or indirect commission in this offence,” it continued. 

The ongoing protests against COVID-19 vaccine mandates in Canada, which started last month, have led to multiple road closures, including Ambassador Bridge between Detroit and Windsor, Canada, preventing traffic from passing over the bridge. 

A number of auto manufacturers have also had to scale back or halt operations due to related complications. 

The police warning comes after the city declared a state of emergency on Sunday in response to the second week of protests.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Tuesday that the protest in Ottawa “has to stop,” saying that the protesters “don’t have the right to blockade our economy, or our democracy, or our fellow citizens’ daily lives.”

Other protests have surfaced globally, including in Australia and New Zealand. Police in Paris recently have banned protesters from entering the city.

U.S. authorities on Wednesday warned of kindred protests that could begin in California as soon as Super Bowl Sunday. 

Tags COVID-19 pandemic in Canada Freedom Convoy Justin Trudeau Ottawa

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