Canadian protesters ignore warnings of police crackdown
Truckers are dismissing governmental warnings that they could face fines and perhaps arrest.
For three weeks, truckers have been parked in downtown Ottawa, protesting vaccine mandates and sleeping in their vehicles. Protestors argue that they joined the protests because of the recent regulations which were enforced on unvaccinated truckers, who must be vaccinated to cross from the US into Canada.
In the most recent reports, truckers that have been blockading Ottawa for three weeks have reportedly defied Canadian police, ignoring governmental warnings that they could face fines and perhaps arrest.
On Thursday, Canadian officers threatened to crackdown on the protests as buses loaded with police reinforcements made their way to Ottawa. Canadian police set up metal fences outside the senate and parliament.
"I ain't going anywhere," said Pat King, a protest organizer for the "Freedom Convoy."
"I haven't overstayed my welcome. My taxes paid for me to be here." The protesters gathered around Parliament Hill despite heavy rain.
Chris Barber, one of the leaders and protesters, had gotten arrested on Thursday afternoon and will be facing criminal charges. Hours after that, Tamara Lich, who is also an organizer, was arrested in downtown Ottawa, facing charges of mischief. Two other individuals were also arrested.
Policemen have been preparing for multiple scenarios after protestors were ignoring formal warnings. One deputy police chief, Steve Bell, said: “We want people to peacefully leave... But I can tell you that if they do not peacefully leave, we have plans, strategies and tactics to be able to get them to leave.”
Bell declared intentions to break up the protests in the coming days.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau echoes the rhetoric, saying that it's about time "that these illegal and dangerous activities stop."
“They are a threat to our economy and our relationship with trading partners,” he said. “They are a threat to public safety.”
More police from Quebec were sent to reinforce Ottawa police, the Ontario provincial police, and the Royal Canadian Mounted police.
However, the strategy remains unclear. While police blocked roads to isolate protestors, they were chased off by the protestors.
Despite laws prohibiting the transfer of fuel in Canada, protestors brought wagons of fuel to their protesting site to keep heaters and truck engines functioning.
The convoys have blocked key trade routes and corridors between the US and Canada over the past few weeks, costing hundreds of millions of dollars in profit. The protests, which have been reduced to an Ottawan stronghold, have inspired similar protests in France, New Zealand and the Netherlands.