Canada police open main protest center in last ditch effort to end ‘freedom caravan’

On Sunday, Canadian police are making a last-ditch attempt to clear the capital of protesters who have paralyzed it by parking and camping in the streets for more than three weeks in the so-called “Freedom Caravan” to protest the pandemic restrictions.

With protesters clearly retreating in the largest police operation in the country’s history, the end of Ottawa’s three-week protest against the country’s restrictions against the Covid-19 virus and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government appears to be looming. Much smaller protests continued in a few places across Canada.

In Ottawa, interim police chief Steve Bell said that while some smaller protests continued, “this illegal occupation is over. We will continue our mission until it is completed.”

While some protesters vowed to stay on the streets of Ottawa, one of the prominent organizers told reporters that they had “decided to withdraw peacefully”.

“We will simply regroup as a grassroots movement,” Tom Marazzo said at a press conference.

Police have been brought in from across the country to help with the clean-up, Bell said, adding that 170 people were arrested on Friday and Saturday and multiple investigations were opened over the confiscation of weapons.

“We will not go anywhere until you return to your streets,” he said at a press conference, vowing to pursue protesters who do not disperse with “financial penalties and criminal charges.”

Discussing emergency powers The crackdown on the “Freedom Caravan” began on Friday morning, when hundreds of police, some in riot gear and others with automatic weapons, descended on the protest area and began to drive away the shackled protesters through snowy streets as the disapproving truck drivers launched their cars. Centuries.

The capital and its paralyzed streets represent the movement’s last major stronghold after weeks of demonstrations and a blockade that closed border crossings into the United States and created one of the most serious tests yet for Trudeau. They also shook Canada’s reputation for civility, with some blaming America’s influence.

He criticized Trudeau for failing to act decisively on the protests, and this week invoked the emergency law, which gives the government sweeping powers to deal with a major crisis.

But lawmakers are divided over its use.

Trudeau said the law was not used to summon the military against protesters and denied restricting freedom of expression.

The goal, he said, was simply to “deal with the current threat and take full control of the situation.” “The illegal sieges and occupations are not peaceful protests.”

(France 24 with Agence France-Presse, Associated Press, and Reuters)

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