Convoy of freedom in Canada: Canadian police working to clear downtown Ottawa of protesters say they have arrested more than 100 protesters

“Anyone who fell, got up and walked away. We are not aware of any injuries,” police said on Twitter.

A person was arrested when a bicycle was thrown towards a horse further down the line, police said.

Municipal, provincial and federal law enforcement began an unprecedented operation Friday morning to remove protesters and their trucks and cars that have blocked Ottawa streets for weeks. By Friday evening, more than 100 people had been arrested and 21 vehicles had been towed.

“You must leave. You must cease all illegal activity and immediately remove your vehicle and/or property from all illegal protest sites,” police tweeted three times Friday night. “Anyone at the illegal protest site may be arrested.”

At an afternoon news conference, Ottawa Police Acting Chief Steve Bell said authorities would work all day and night to get the protesters out.

“We are monitoring the situation on the ground and continuing to move forward to clean up our streets,” Bell said..

Several trucks and cars voluntarily left the protest, but dozens continue to block the streets in and around Parliament.

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Ottawa police earlier tweeted protesters placed children between police operations and the protest site.

“Children will be taken to a safe place,” the tweet read.

CNN has observed these children at the protest site for the past several days. Bell said police did not need to interact with the Children’s Aid Society of Ottawa regarding the children in the crowd. The society, according to its website, is a community-based non-profit organization funded by the Ontario government and is legally mandated to protect children and youth from abuse and neglect.

“Even through all the planning, it still shocks and surprises me that we see children in danger, in the middle of a protest where a police operation is taking place,” Bell said. “We will continue to keep them safe, but we implore all parents who have children in there, get the children out of there.”

Local media showed live footage of several arrests that took place earlier Friday without incident. Searches and police arrests took place within half a mile of the main protest site on Parliament Hill.

During his press conference earlier on Friday, Bell said no protesters were injured during the day and one officer was lightly injured.

Debate in Parliament on the use of the Emergencies Act was scheduled to continue on Friday, but the House of Commons will not meet due to police activity in downtown Ottawa, the speaker says of the House of Commons, Anthony Rota, in a press release.

Ottawa police on Friday confirmed the arrest of two protest organizers, Tamara Lich, 49, and Christopher John Barber, 46.

Lich was charged with counseling to commit the offense of mischief and Barber was charged with counseling to commit the offense of mischief, counseling to commit the offense of disobeying a court order and advised to commit the offense of obstructing the police.

Barber had a contested bail hearing on Friday, attorney Diane Magas said in an email to CNN. He was released on conditions and bail, she added. Lich is due in court Saturday morning for his arraignment.

Video posted to social media shows Lich interacting with a police officer, then being handcuffed and taken to a police car.

Lich encouraged protesters to gather in Ottawa and recently called on supporters to continue their protest despite it being declared illegal. She created a GoFundMe campaign for the “Freedom Convoy” which raised millions of dollars before being suspended by the platform.
The convoy first arrived in Ottawa on January 29 to express its disapproval of a vaccination mandate to enter the country or face testing requirements. In more than two weeks, the protest has since morphed into a broader grievance against all Covid-19 measures, including mask-wearing and vaccinations.
Ottawa police began erecting barriers and fencing throughout downtown on Thursday in an effort to clear the area of ​​protesters, who used trucks to block city roads and remained defiant in the face of calls of the police to disperse.

Overnight, the three police forces reinforced the downtown perimeter, which includes checkpoints at highway on-ramps and side streets.

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The secure zone would ensure that those seeking entry for an “illegal reason such as joining a protest cannot enter the city center”, according to Bell.

With nearly 100 checkpoints, the perimeter encompasses most of downtown Ottawa and is much larger than the protest’s footprint to date.

Those who live, work or have a legal reason to be in the area would be allowed access, authorities said.

Trudeau defends call for emergency powers

Amid opposition in Parliament, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau defended his decision to invoke emergency powers to end protests during an address Thursday to lawmakers.

Officials said a primary goal of invoking the Emergencies Act was to stifle funding for protesters in Ottawa.

Law enforcement officers clash with protesters during a demonstration in Ottawa on Friday.

“These illegal blockades are strongly supported by individuals in the United States and around the world,” Trudeau said. “We find that about half of the funding that is flowing to the barricaders here comes from the United States. The goal of all the measures, including the Emergency Measures Act financial measures, is to deal with the current threat only and to get the situation completely under control.”

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The law, passed in 1988 and never invoked before, can temporarily suspend citizens’ rights to freedom of movement or assembly. It may also provide for the use of the military, but Trudeau said that would not be necessary.

“We did it to protect families and small businesses. To protect jobs and the economy. We did it because the situation couldn’t be fixed by any other law in Canada,” Trudeau said. “For the good of all Canadians, illegal blockades and occupations must end, and borders must remain open.”

Blockades at border crossings in Alberta and Ontario ended this week, with arrests made as police cleared areas. Four people have been charged with conspiracy to commit murder blockading Coutts, Alberta, and several guns and cartridges have been seized.
Another blockade in Manitoba ended without incident, authorities said. The port of entry connecting Surrey, British Columbia, to Blaine, Washington, has also been reopened.
Candice Bergen, interim leader of the Conservative Party, said Wednesday the party would not support a motion by the federal government to make full use of those powers, according to CNN’s newsgathering partner CTV.

“The first act he does when he has the ability to do something – he doesn’t go through stages one, two, three – he goes straight to 100 and invokes the emergency law,” Bergen told CTV News. “I don’t think anything we see will change our minds, we will oppose it.”

The government must propose a motion to both the House and the Senate explaining why federal officials need the powers and specifying the actions that will be taken, and then the House and Senate must confirm the motions, according to CTV.

The federal government will work with premiers across the country “until the situation is resolved,” Trudeau said.

“As I said on Monday, the scope of the Emergency Measures Act is time-limited and targeted, as well as reasonable and fractional. It strengthens and supports law enforcement, so that they have more tools to restore order and protect critical infrastructure.”

CNN’s Raja Razek, Chris Boyette, Amir Vera and Jenn Selva contributed to this report.

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