Covid-19: Canadian police threaten protesters with arrest; government links blockade to extremists – News

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau invoked the little-used Emergencies Act on Monday, giving the Liberal government more powers to end the protest.



Reuters

By Reuters

Published: Thu 17 Feb 2022, 06:52

Police in the Canadian capital, Ottawa, on Wednesday warned truckers blockading the city center to leave or face arrest in a crackdown aimed at ending a three-week-old protest against traffic restrictions. Covid-19.

Acting Police Chief Steve Bell promised “to take over the entirety of downtown and all occupied spaces” in the “next few days”.

Federal Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino accused extremist groups of helping organize protests in Ottawa and at US border crossings and reiterated that some actors wanted to overthrow the Liberal government.

Police handed out leaflets to truckers that said, “You must leave the area now. Anyone who blocks the streets… can be arrested. Police also condemned some of the hundreds of vehicles blocking downtown Ottawa.

At least one large truck drove off as some protesters dropped the leaflets into a toilet in front of a truck. Some truckers honked their horns in violation of a court order prohibiting such behavior.

Wendell Thorndyke, who parked outside parliament for 21 days, insisted he had no intention of leaving. “We think that’s cute. They turned all the cops into cleaning ladies,” he said as he filled his engine with oil.

In a video posted by CTV reporter Mackenzie Gray on Twitter, Tamara Lich, a prominent fundraiser and organizer of the Ottawa protest, demanded an end to all declarations of states of emergency, vaccination mandates and Covid-19 restrictions

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau invoked the little-used Emergencies Act on Monday, giving the Liberal government more powers to end the protest.

Sources told Reuters that frustration over the inability of police to lift blockades at the border and in the capital ultimately prompted Trudeau to seek emergency powers.

Mendicino said there were links between protesters in the capital and members of a far-right organization accused of blocking the Alberta border earlier in the week.

Police arrested 13 people in the blockade of the town of Coutts, Alta., and seized weapons. Four members of the group have been charged with conspiracy to commit murder.

“What we are beginning to see emerge now are the characteristics of a sophisticated and capable organization of a small number of individuals…driven by an extreme ideology that would seek…to overthrow the government of the day,” did he declare.

Mendicino spokesman Alex Cohen said the minister was referring to the Diagolon group, which the Canadian Anti-Hate Network describes as a far-right network espousing conspiracy theories. A body armor seized by police in Coutts bore a patch with the Diagolon emblem, a black background with a white diagonal stripe.

“I hope he (Mendicino) wasn’t referring to me or any of my friends because that would be extremely dangerous language,” Jeremy MacKenzie, the group’s de facto leader, told Reuters.

“I think they are looking for a bogie-man to harm the (protest) movement and what the people in the convoy are trying to achieve.”

Police in Windsor, Ont., said they intercepted a small convoy of trucks on Tuesday they suspected of wanting to re-establish a blockade on the Ambassador Bridge in Detroit, which is crucial for trade with the United States.

Protesters blocked the bridge for six days before being evicted on Sunday. The incident prompted US President Joe Biden to express his concerns to Trudeau.

On Wednesday, Canadian border guards turned away My Pillow founder Mike Lindell and a truck carrying 10,000 pillows for protesters because he was unvaccinated and did not take a COVID-19 test before his death. arrived, a government source said.

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In a phone interview, Lindell, a staunch supporter of former US President Donald Trump, denied being at the border. But he said his truck had obtained a permit and would try to cross again on Thursday.

“Tomorrow morning we will cross the border,” Lindell said. “And we’ll be in Ottawa hopefully in the afternoon to deliver the pillows.”

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