Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

World

'This unlawful occupation is over': Police clear roads in Canadian capital after three weeks of protests

Police in Canada have retaken control of the streets around Ottawa’s parliament buildings after a three-week protest – declaring: “This unlawful occupation is over.”

Smaller protests are continuing around the capital and some demonstrators have vowed to regroup. Those who refuse to leave have been told they will face “financial sanctions and criminal charges”.

Ottawa’s interim police chief, Steve Bell, said officers will “continue with our mission until it is complete”, telling residents: “We’re not going anywhere until you have your streets back.”

Image:
Police are restricting access to the streets around Parliament Hill. Pic: AP

‘Harassed and intimidated’

Advertisement

The protests – referred to as the Freedom Convoy movement – began in January.

They were initially led by truckers who were angry about vaccine mandates, but developed into a gathering of people voicing opposition to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

More on Canada

Ottawa residents had complained they were harassed and intimidated by the truckers, who had kept them awake at night by honking their truck horns.

Hundreds of police in riot gear moved in on Friday and Saturday, arresting demonstrators and towing their trucks in the largest police operation in Canadian history.

Some 170 people were arrested on Friday and Saturday, with a number of weapons seized. Emergency powers were also used by authorities to seize 76 bank accounts connected to the protesters, with a value totalling around £1.85m.

Canadian police officers face off with protestors on Parliament Hill, as they work to restore normality to the capital while trucks and demonstrators continue to occupy the downtown core for more than three weeks to protest against pandemic restrictions in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, February 19, 2022. REUTERS/Blair Gable
Image:
The protests were initially focused on vaccine mandates for truckers but grew to include other grievances

‘We gave you time to leave’

Before the operation began, Ottawa police had warned protesters in a tweet, saying: “We told you to leave. We gave you time to leave.

“We were slow and methodical, yet you were assaultive and aggressive with officers and the horses.

“Based on your behaviour, we are responding by including helmets and batons for our safety.”

Mr Bell said no protesters were hurt, but one police officer received minor injuries.

One of the protest’s organisers. Tom Marazzo, said he and others had “decided to peacefully withdraw” from the area, adding: “We will simply regroup as a grassroots movement.”

Mr Trudeau has described the protesters as a “fringe” element in a country where most people support the vaccine rules, and many – including most truckers – are vaccinated.

On Monday, Mr Trudeau invoked the Emergencies Act – which allowed the blockades to be declared illegal, trucks to be towed away, drivers to be arrested, their licences to be suspended and their bank accounts frozen.

The act also allowed police to compel tow truck companies to help after officers had earlier said tow truck drivers were reluctant to help because they supported the protesters or they feared retaliation.

Comments

Latest Tweets

Advertisement

You May Also Like

Business

The controversial Russian businessman Viktor Baturin, well-known for his years-long counterstanding with his wealthy sister Elena, widow of Moscow ex-mayor Yuri Luzhkov, is likely...

European Union

On April 9, 2022 Dimash Qudaibergen’s first solo concert in Germany took place in Düsseldorf. The colossal energy and the atmosphere of unity did...

United Kingdom

A rare £100 bank note given to a charity shop has been sold for £140,000 at auction. Oxfam volunteer worker Paul Wyman spotted the...

United Kingdom

The Watneys Party Seven is making a comeback. The ubiquitous 70s beer was a bland fizzing bitter ridiculed by many. The drink’s insipidness helped...