Freedom Convoy in Canada: At Least 100 Arrested As Police Clamp Down On Protesters Blocking Ottawa For Weeks

freedom convoy canada

The “Freedom Convoy” protest has left Ottawa, Canada, in gridlock for three weeks, and on Friday, police began a major operation to clear out the remaining protesters and vehicles. Police said more than 100 people were arrested and that some protesters had assaulted officers.

Freedom Convoys are also being organized in other countries. In a few countries this has already been organized.

Media reports said:

Police closed in on protesters in Ottawa, Canada, on Friday, three weeks after the trucker “Freedom Convoy” arrived in the capital and blockaded city streets in protest of COVID-19 measures.

Ottawa Police said more than 100 people had been arrested and 21 vehicles towed as of Friday night and that the demonstrations had turned violent.

“Protesters are assaulting officers, have attempted to remove officer’s weapons. All means of de-escalation have been used to move forward in our goal of returning Ottawa to it is normalcy,” police said in a tweet.

Police said mounted officers were sent in as “protesters continued their assaultive behavior with the police line, to prevent an escalation or further injury,” along with a photo of officers on horseback.

One person who threw a bicycle at a horse was arrested for intentionally harming a police service animal, police said.

Video shared on Twitter showed police horses passing through a crowd, followed by people on the ground and others accusing the police of trampling the crowd. Ottawa Police addressed the incident and said they were unaware of any injuries.

“We hear your concern for people on the ground after the horses dispersed a crowd. Anyone who fell got up and walked away,” police said in a tweet.

Police also said no one had been seriously injured or killed as a result of police actions.

National Emergency

The operation to remove protesters and vehicles that have left Ottawa in gridlock for weeks and disrupted the lives of the capital’s residents came days after Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau declared a national emergency over the protests, giving the government power to temporarily restrict civil rights. A similar action had not been taken by the Canadian government in over 50 years.

The “Freedom Convoy” demonstrators began arriving in late January to protest COVID-19 vaccine mandates for truckers who regularly cross the US-Canada border. The protest expanded to include different groups demonstrating against a variety of public-health measures.

Freedom Convoy leader Tamara Lich arrested by Canadian police

Canadian “Freedom Convoy” leader Tamara Lich has been arrested by police in Ottawa, according to online reports.

CBC News reporter David Cochrane wrote in a tweet: “Convoy organizer Tamara Lich was arrested Thursday evening by Ottawa police and also remains in police custody. Both she and Chris Barber – who was arrested earlier – are expected to be charged criminally, according to sources.”

A clip showing Lich being detained by Ottawa police was also shared on social media by an account which is seemingly associated with the convoy.

“Tamara Lich has been arrested, but we will continue to #holdtheline,” the tweet containing the footage read.

Lich, who started the GoFundMe account which raised millions for those participating in the convoy protest and was later halted, said in a tearful clip shared to social media on Wednesday that she was anticipating the arrest. Thanking those who stood alongside her, Lich said she is “ready” and “not afraid.”

“There is a pretty good chance – well I think it is inevitable at this point – but, uh, I will probably be going somewhere tomorrow where I will be getting three square meals a day. And that is OK,” Lich said in the video.

Chris Barber, another key organizer of the Freedom Convoy protest, was also arrested in Ottawa on Thursday.

Barber, who is a senior convoy leader, is expected to face criminal charges according to the CBC. He has previously said in a press release that politicians have declined to engage in “serious dialogue.”

The arrest comes after Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau invoked the Emergencies Act on Monday, which gives the government power to clear protests by towing vehicles, and even more direct measures such as freezing personal bank accounts.

The Ottawa demonstrators – many parked in some 400 heavy trucks and other vehicles on city streets around Parliament – have been warned they face arrest as well as having their trucks seized, their insurance suspended and bank accounts frozen.

Police say they are also working with child-welfare agencies to arrange how to remove the protesters’ children from the site before authorities move in.

Ms Lich told the Canadian Press earlier that her personal bank account had already been frozen and she was resigned to going to jail.

Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland confirmed the government had begun freezing truckers’ bank accounts.

Authorities last weekend cleared the most economically damaging blockade – of a bridge linking Windsor, Ontario, with the U.S. state of Michigan. Trucker protests at other border crossings in Coutts, Alberta, and Emerson, Manitoba, ended this week.

Ottawa police have set up almost 100 police check-points around the main protest site, and a large business and residential district in the city centre.

The move comes ahead of the weekend, when a core group of protesters who remain during the week are typically joined by thousands of other demonstrators on the streets of the capital.

Opposition politicians accused Trudeau of inflaming an already tense situation.

The use of the law is an “unprecedented sledgehammer”, said Conservative leader Candice Bergen.

The Canadian Civil Liberties Association said on Thursday it would take the government to court over its “extreme measure”.

The protests began with a truck convoy heading to Ottawa to oppose a vaccine mandate for truckers crossing the US-Canada border, but eventually became about a broader opposition to pandemic restrictions and Trudeau’s government.

Defenders of the “Freedom Convoy” are accusing Trudeau of smearing their peaceful demonstration, while ignoring a violent attack by environmental activists elsewhere in the country on Thursday.

Anti-pipeline Protesters

A group of 20 axe-wielding anti-pipeline protesters assailed security guards and police and caused extensive damage to property at a work site in Houston, British Columbia, said the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

COVID protest convoy arrives in Brussels

A Reuters report from Brussels said on February 14, 2022:

About 500 cars and campervans arrived in Brussels on Monday, mainly from France, in a convoy to protest against coronavirus restrictions, Brussels mayor Philippe Close said.

The vehicles were barred from the city. Police directed them to a parking place on the outskirts of Brussels, from where protesters continued on foot to a square in the city centre and the area housing European Union institutions.

Reuters reporters saw around 150-200 protesters in the city centre and a similar number in the European quarter.

The mayor told Belgian LN24 television the protest, inspired by “Freedom Convoy” demonstrators who have gridlocked the Canadian capital with trucks, had no permit from the Brussels authorities, no leader and had made no demands.

Philippe, a French protester from the city of Valenciennes who had earlier protested in Paris, told reporters pandemic restrictions were only part of his problems.

“I came particularly for our children’s future. I do not see how my children can live in the world as it is now. Freedom is swept aside, there is more and more poverty. Even when you work, when the 15th of the month comes round, you haven’t got enough to live on,” he said.

He said he was also protesting against the rise in energy prices and the cost of living.


A protest convoy breached police defences and drove into central Paris on Saturday, snarling traffic around the Arc de Triomphe and on the Champs Elysees.

Israelis mount their own COVID ‘Freedom Convoy’

Another earlier Reuters report from Jerusalem said:

Hundreds of vehicles drove along the main highway from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem on Monday and converged on parliament to protest against COVID-19 curbs in a convoy inspired by demonstrations in Canada.

Other protesters stood on overpasses and at junctions as the so-called “Freedom Convoy” passed by, with banners and Israeli and Canadian flags flying from the vehicles.

“Freedom doesn’t look like this,” read one sign, showing a picture of a girl in a mask.

Outside parliament, protesters sounded horns and beat drums, and called for pandemic restrictions to be lifted.

“We are all gathered here for freedom. Because for two years already, all this world is going mad because of all the mandates and all the things that don’t let us live as free as we are born,” Jonathan Deporto, 39, said.

In recent weeks, Israel has rolled back requirements to show proof of vaccination at restaurants, cinemas, gyms and hotels to coincide with a slowdown in daily infections from the highly contagious Omicron variant of COVID-19.

But masks are still mandatory in public indoor spaces, including schools, shops and medical institutions.

Authorities consider reinstalling fence around Capitol ahead of possible convoy protest

A media report from Washington D.C. said:

U.S. authorities are considering reinstalling a fence around the Capitol ahead of a possible trucker convoy protest during U.S. President Joe Biden’s State of the Union next month, officials said Friday.

The fence is the same barrier that remained around the Capitol for months after the Jan. 6 riot and during the “Justice for J6” rally.

In a statement, a Capitol Police spokesman said the agency was working closely with the Secret Service on a plan for the March 1 speech.

“The temporary inner-perimeter fence is part of those ongoing discussions and remains an option, however at this time no decision has been made,” the spokesman said.

In an earlier statement, the agency said it was working with other law enforcement agencies and the Washington D.C. National Guard.

“As with any demonstration, the USCP will facilitate lawful First Amendment activity,” the agency said.

The announcement comes as authorities in Ottawa, Ontario, began arresting “Freedom Convoy” protesters who have occupied part of the country’s capital city for weeks over Covid-19 rules and the policies of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

Authorities clamped down last week on a blockade that disrupted trade over the Ambassador Bridge between Detroit and Windsor, Canada, making a couple dozen arrests and seizing five vehicles.

A separate blockade in Manitoba ended peacefully Wednesday.

In the U.S., anti-vaccine groups, supporters of former President Donald Trump and followers of the QAnon conspiracy theory have sought to replicate the protests north of the border.

As detailed on far-right social media and chat groups — and described in a bulletin from the Department of Homeland Security — the groups had sought to block traffic during the Super Bowl in Los Angeles but were unable to organize the event in time.

The bulletin, which described the effort as “aspirational,” says the convoy planned on disrupting the football game before making its way to the capital.


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