Ottawa police surged their numbers into the downtown area of the nation’s capital on Thursday as law enforcement prepare to push out the Freedom Convoy protesters who have sat in non-violent protest for roughly three weeks.
Law enforcement passed around written warning for the second consecutive day, ordering protesters to “leave the area now” and threatening potential arrest on a charge of “mischief.” Police have also sectioned off a “security area” around Parliament Hill, encircling the protest area in checkpoints to prevent anyone without an approved reason from entering the area. The police also threw up an additional security fence around Parliament.
Justin Trudeau: “We’re not suspending fundamental rights.”
Ottawa police: “You can expect to see police checkpoints where you will be asked your reason for travelling within the Secured Area. You will be required to show proof of exemption for your travel to the Secured Area.” pic.twitter.com/p1DHfoBrGY
— Andrew Lawton (@AndrewLawton) February 18, 2022
“The secured area includes almost 100 checkpoints that will have police presence to ensure that those seeking entry to that secure area for an unlawful reason such as joining a protest cannot enter the downtown core,” interim Ottawa police chief Steve Bell, who took over after former chief Peter Sloly resigned on Tuesday, said in a press conference.
Police largely avoided directly engaging protesters camped out within the secured area. Police did move in to make several arrests on Thursday, however. In one of the arrests, Ottawa officers cuffed one of the protest’s organizers, Chris Barber. Two other arrests were of people who appeared to not be associated with the protest’s core group of organizers and truckers, according to David Paisley, who manages supplies and logistics for the truckers.
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