Police in Canada’s capital said Friday morning they have launched a sweep to arrest Freedom Convoy protesters against the government’s COVID vaccine mandates as the Parliament delayed a vote needed by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to continue using powers under the Emergencies Act.
Earlier Thursday, Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland announced that bank accounts of donors to the trucker protesters had been frozen and online fundraising is being tracked by the government’s anti-money-laundering unit. Thursday evening key protest leaders Tamara Lich, 47, and Christopher Barber, 46, were arrested as police imposed a “secure zone” with 100 checkpoints around the perimeter to cut off support for the demonstrators.
Lich launched the GoFundMe account that was shut down after it raised millions for participants in the protest.
She and Barber are scheduled to appear in court Friday. Both face the charge of counseling to commit the offense of mischief. Barber also is charged with counseling to commit the offenses of disobeying a court order and obstructing police.
See the arrest of Freedom Convoy organizer Tamara Lich:
— FreedomConvoy2022 (@rFreedomConvoy) February 18, 2022
Lich posted a clip to social media Wednesday in which she said she was expecting to be arrested. She thanks supporters and said she was “ready” and “not afraid.”
See Lich’s post:
In emotional video tonight, protest organizer Tamara Lich seems to accept she is going to jail soon. pic.twitter.com/j8L0NMoL2f
— Glen McGregor (@glen_mcgregor) February 17, 2022
Early Friday morning, Ottawa police dispatched an alert warning of a “large police presence” closing in on Parliament Hill and advising protesters to “leave immediately.”
“Some protesters are surrendering and are being arrested. We ask protesters to remain peaceful and lawful,” the alert said.
Ottawa’s police chief, Peter Sloly, resigned this week amid criticism that he was not quelling the protest. His successor, interim Police Chief Steve Bell, has vowed to end the protest this weekend.
“We absolutely are committed to end this unlawful demonstration. We have the plan, we have the commitment, we have the resources,” Bell said Thursday at a news conference.
See police arresting protesters Friday in Ottawa:
— Claudia Cautillo (@ClaudiaCTV) February 18, 2022
Thousands of police have surrounded the Ottawa convoy over the course of the past 90 mins. More continue to come in to back up the front line, which has been methodically pushing in, foot by foot. An air of panic on the ground. Starting to feel like the beginning of the end pic.twitter.com/K2EI6uQE0c
— Nate Hochman (@njhochman) February 18, 2022
Police and freedom protestors clash.
— The Post Millennial (@TPostMillennial) February 18, 2022
Police in Ottawa are hitting protesters to the ground and kneeing them. pic.twitter.com/Kr2L0t7dyB
— Marie Oakes (@TheMarieOakes) February 18, 2022
Armed police are removing people from their vehicles in Ottawa. pic.twitter.com/81AmSBXkuf
— Marie Oakes (@TheMarieOakes) February 18, 2022
— Mackenzie Gray (@Gray_Mackenzie) February 18, 2022
Canadian law requires that the Emergencies Act be brought before Parliament within seven days for approval. With the canceling of the vote Friday, the House of Commons will be required to act by Monday.
During debate Thursday, as Trudeau urged members to support his extraordinary powers, Conservative Party leader Candice Bergen, argued the prime minister’s request is “not consistent with fundamental freedoms.”
“The government should not have the power to close the bank accounts of Canadians on a whim,” Bergen told Parliament.
“I urge all members of this House: Proceed with extreme caution. Now is the time to stand up for your constituents, to show real leadership, to help heal our divisions, to listen to those we disagree with.”
I’m disturbed & saddened by what we are seeing today in Ottawa. This situation was created by the PM & his desire to divide Canadians. It’s time for MPs to return to the House tomorrow to stop the overreach by this government & restore unity, wholeness & hope back to our nation.
— Candice Bergen (@CandiceBergenMP) February 18, 2022
Conservative Party member Dane Lloyd pointed out to Trudeau that the deputy director of intelligence for FINTRAC, the anti-money-laundering intelligence unit, told Parliament there is no evidence that the funding of the protesters on which the government is cracking down is tied to “ideologically motivated extremism.”
He asked Trudeau to explain the basis for the government freezing the accounts of Canadians.
Trudeau didn’t answer the question, instead restating is insistence that the invoking of the Emergencies Act doesn’t take away the basic rights of citizens guaranteed by the nation’s charter.
See Lloyd’s exchange with Trudeau:
“Deputy Director of Intelligence for FINTRAC Barry MacKillop stated there is no evidence that this funding in Ottawa is tied to ideologically motivated extremism…under what basis is this Government freezing accounts of Canadians?”
Trudeau: <No answer>.pic.twitter.com/wyJCkElq9d
— Michael P Senger (@MichaelPSenger) February 17, 2022
EDITOR’S NOTE: Last year, America’s doctors, nurses and paramedics were celebrated as frontline heroes battling a fearsome new pandemic. Today, under Joe Biden, tens of thousands of these same heroes are denounced as rebels, conspiracy theorists, extremists and potential terrorists. Along with massive numbers of police, firemen, Border Patrol agents, Navy SEALs, pilots, air-traffic controllers, and countless other truly essential Americans, they’re all considered so dangerous as to merit termination, their professional and personal lives turned upside down due to their decision not to be injected with the experimental COVID vaccines. Biden’s tyrannical mandate threatens to cripple American society – from law enforcement to airlines to commercial supply chains to hospitals. It’s already happening. But the good news is that huge numbers of “yesterday’s heroes” are now fighting back – bravely and boldly. The whole epic showdown is laid out as never before in the sensational October issue of WND’s monthly Whistleblower magazine, titled “THE GREAT AMERICAN REBELLION: ‘We will not comply!’ COVID-19 power grab ignites bold new era of national defiance.”
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This article was originally published by the WND News Center.