Canadian police arrest truck drivers in Ottawa in protest of COVID-19 restrictions
Canadian police arrest truck drivers in Ottawa in protest of COVID-19 restrictions

Canadian police arrest truck drivers in Ottawa in protest of COVID-19 restrictions

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OTTAWA, ONTARIO – FEBRUARY 17: Protesters take part in a demonstration organized by truck drivers opposing vaccine mandates on February 17, 2022 in Ottawa, Ontario. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has invoked the Emergencies Act in an attempt to put an end to the demonstration, which has nearly paralyzed part of downtown Ottawa for three weeks. (Photo by Scott Olson / Getty Images)

OTTAWA, Ontario (AP) – Authorities in Canada say they are starting to arrest truck drivers who have been paralyzing traffic in Ottawa for three weeks in protest of the country’s COVID-19 restrictions.

Police in Ottawa tweeted that some protesters surrendered and were arrested Friday morning outside Parliament Hill.

Police in riot gear stormed a rally on Thursday, removing hundreds of protesters by truck.

The capital represents the last stronghold of the self-proclaimed Freedom Convoy after weeks of demonstrations and blockades that closed border crossings to the United States and caused economic damage to both countries.

Many of the truck drivers have promised not to leave, even if it means being jailed or losing their licenses under Canada’s emergency law.

THIS IS A NEWS UPDATE. The AP’s past history follows below.

OTTAWA, Ontario (AP) – The Canadian House of Commons canceled its work on Friday amid mounting signs that police were beginning to break up a three-week protest by hundreds of truck drivers angry over the country’s COVID-19 restrictions.

Ottawa police made it clear Thursday that they were preparing to end the siege near Parliament Hill and remove the more than 300 trucks. The city’s interim police chief warned that “action is imminent.”

Police in riot gear stormed a rally on Thursday, removing hundreds of protesters by truck.

House Speaker Anthony Rota on Friday warned lawmakers to “stay away from downtown until further notice” due to an expected police operation.

Lawmakers had been able to work uninterrupted for the past three weeks despite protests outside from the self-proclaimed Freedom Convoy.

The capital represented the movement’s last stronghold after three weeks of demonstrations and blockades that closed border crossings to the United States and caused a political crisis for Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

The protests have also shaken Canada’s reputation for courtesy and inspired similar convoys in France, New Zealand and the Netherlands.

Trudeau on Monday relied on the Canada Emergencies Act, which empowers law enforcement agencies to declare blockades illegal, tow trucks, arrest drivers, freeze their bank accounts and suspend their driver’s licenses.

Protesters around the country in trucks, tractors and motorhomes initially focused on Canada’s vaccine requirements for truck drivers entering the country. But the movement soon turned into a broad-based attack on COVID-19 precautions and Trudeau’s government.

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