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Canadian Police Arrest Two Freedom Convoy Organizers, Order Others to Disperse

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OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.


Police in Ottawa have arrested two organizers of the “Freedom Convoy” protest after Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau invoked emergency powers earlier in the week.

Tamara Lich and Christopher Barber were arrested late Thursday as interim Ottawa Police Steve Bell implored truckers taking part in the protests to leave the city.

Dagny Pawlak, a spokeswoman for the convoy, told The Washington Post that Lich was arrested and charged with “aiding and abetting mischief.”

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Earlier in the day, Lich, who is a resident of Alberta, told CBC News that authorities had frozen her personal bank account and she was aware that she would soon be jailed.

According to Fox News, Barber’s arrest was announced on the floor of Parliament. The network added:

Barber, who is a senior convoy leader, is expected to face criminal charges, according to the CBC. He has previously said in a press release that politicians have declined to engage in “serious dialogue.”

“We understand your frustration and genuinely wish there was another way for us to get our message across, but the responsibility for your inconvenience lies squarely on the shoulders of politicians who have [preferred] to vilify and call us names rather than engage in respectful, serious dialogue,” he noted in response to citizen complaints about truckers blocking roads and honking at all hours.

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Earlier in the week, Trudeau invoked the Emergencies Act to deal with the protests which he deemed inappropriate and “illegal.”

“These blockades are illegal, and if you are still participating, the time to go home is now,” Trudeau said. “This is about keeping Canadians safe, protecting peoples’ jobs, and restoring faith in our institutions.”

Before the arrests, Ottawa police handed out fliers ordering the truckers to disperse.

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“You must leave the area now. Anyone blocking streets, or assisting others in blocking streets, are committing a criminal offense and you may be arrested. You must immediately cease further unlawful activity or you will face charges,” the fliers, obtained by Fox News, said. “The people of Ottawa are being denied the lawful use, enjoyment and operation of their property and you are causing businesses to close. That is mischief under the Criminal Code.”

The Week notes:

The protest against Canada’s COVID-19 policies began three weeks ago, and demonstrators who remain say they won’t leave until all mandates are lifted. There have been dozens of criminal investigations launched from the protests, Ottawa residents have complained about the noise from idling trucks and all-night honking, and police have ticketed people for bringing in fuel to refill trucks and for illegal parking.

Also Thursday, Ottawa interim Police Chief Steve Bell told the demonstrators it’s “time to go. Your time in our city has come to an end and you must leave.”

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Bell added that officers had established a perimeter around the city and a large area was opened only to residents, workers, and police.

“I implore anyone that’s there — get in your truck and we will navigate safe passage for you to leave our city streets,” he said. “We want this demonstration to end peacefully. … There is a deliberate plan, there is commitment, and there’s the resourcing that we now have in place to end this.”

The Canadian protest appears to be coming to an end just as a similar protest in the United States is set to kick off.

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Next week, tractor-trailer drivers in California will begin rolling down I-40 to kick off “The People’s Convoy,” with the ultimate destination being Washington, D.C., according to The Epoch Times.

Chris Marston, chairman of the American Foundation for Civil Liberties, is helping to organize the protest against federal pandemic mandates and other issues.

“Freedom can’t wait,” he told the outlet.

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