Heavily Armed Canada Police Start Breaking COVID Protests
By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent Worthy News
OTTAWA (Worthy News) – Canadian police detained protesters Friday to break the three-week “Freedom Convoy” by truckers and others angry over the country’s COVID-19 restrictions, including vaccine mandates.
Prime Minister Prime Minister Justin Trudeau had called the protesters in Ottawa, the capital, a “fringe minority” reflecting “the proliferation of “disinformation and misinformation online.”
Among those arrested overnight was Tamara Lich, 47, one of the protests’ main organizers, said Dagny Pawlak, a spokeswoman for the protest.
Officers, some carrying automatic weapons and wearing tactical unit uniforms, were seen going door to door along a line of trucks, campers, and other vehicles parked on Ottawa’s snow-covered streets.
Several protesters surrendered and were taken into custody, police confirmed. Some were being led away in handcuffs, and one person led away carried a sign that read “Mandate Freedom,” reporters said.
Earlier, Ottawa police officers went truck to truck handing out a notice telling protestors they were broke the law and faced arrest.
It also warned that anyone taking a minor to an unlawful protest could be fined up to 5,000 Canadian dollars “and/or potentially spend up to five years in prison.”
Yet outside Parliament with his son and two daughters on Thursday, wearing “Make America Great Again” baseball caps, Baret McAuley, told media he would continue to protest.
The retired oil field company manager, said that despite the notice he would stay put with his children, Emily, 17, and Ryan and Sarah, both 12. “I don’t believe that any person with a soul will take away my children,” added McAuley, 47.
He said they drive more than 1,700 miles (2740 kilometers) from Moose Jaw in the mining province of Saskatchewan, a 30-hour trip.
Yet without the presence of the detained organizer Lich it was unclear how long he and others would be able to face the ongoing crackdown.
Lich has emerged as the public face and the most visible leader of the trucker convoy.
She is a former fitness instructor, who worked in the energy sector, and sung and played guitar in a band called “Blind Monday” in Medicine Hat in Alberta province. Media said that Lich was also a senior member of a splinter party that advocated for Canada’s Western provinces to secede from the country.
Yet throughout the protests, Lich, spoke in measured tones on social media to amplify the protesters’ grievances. Police also detained another organizer, Chris Barber, on Thursday afternoon, protestors said.
The rallies around the country by protesters in trucks, tractors, and motor homes initially focused on Canada’s vaccine requirement for truckers entering the country. But it soon grew to a broader movement against perceived limitations on freedoms under the guise of the COVID-19 pandemic by Trudeau’s government.
The biggest border blockade at the Ambassador Bridge between Windsor, Ontario, and Detroit, disrupted the flow of auto parts between the two countries and forced the industry to curtail production.
Authorities lifted the siege last weekend after detaining dozens of protesters. The final blockade, in Manitoba, ended peacefully on Wednesday.
The protestors have been cheered on by U.S. evangelist Franklin Graham, former U.S. President Donald J. Trump, and others viewing them as people fighting for freedom values.
They also received donations from conservatives in the U.S. despite attempts by fundraising service GoFundMe to ban such gifts for what critics viewed as political reasons.
GoFundMe claimed the Freedom Convoy campaign condoned violence, charges denied by organizers, though there were some incidents reported including around statues in Ottawa.
Yet, most protestors were peaceful, and in the U.S. state of Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said his office will investigate GoFundMe for blocking and withholding donations.
“GoFundMe’s response to an anti-mandate, pro-liberty movement should ring alarm bells to anyone using the donation platform and, more broadly, any American wanting to protect their constitutional rights,” Paxton stressed. “Many Texans donated to this worthy cause. I am acting to protect Texas consumers so that they know where their hard-earned money is going, rather than allowing GoFundMe to divert money to another cause without the consent of Texas citizens.”
Removing the campaign from its site could violate the state’s Deceptive Trade Practices Act, he said.
Yet, Canadian authorities and security forces did not await the outcome. Police, who previously confiscated firewood and fuel used to keep protestors warm, claimed local residents were annoyed with the ongoing rally.
Backed by the prime minister they seemed confident that detentions would eventually deter protestors to end their call for a return to more freedoms in Canada.
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