Police arrested protesters Friday to end the three-week siege by hundreds of truckers angry over the country’s COVID-19 restrictions in Ottawa.
In Ottawa’s snow-covered streets, officers were seen patrolling trucks, campers, and other vehicles.
It was reported that some protesters surrendered and were taken into custody, although a few were handcuffed and taken away. “Mandate Freedom” was the sign carried by one of the people being taken away. Defiance was common among the truckers.
“Freedom was never free,” said Montreal trucker Kevin Homaund, “So what if they put the handcuffs on us and they put us in jail?”
In their first move to end the occupation, police arrested two prominent protest leaders late Thursday night. Outsiders were also barred from accessing much of downtown to prevent them from coming to the aid of the self-styled Freedom Convoy protesters.
As the movement’s last stronghold, the capital suffered three weeks of demonstrations, as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau faced a political crisis after Canadians blocked U.S. border crossings causing economic damage to both nations. Some foes of the unrest attributed the unrest to the influence of the United States, which also tainted Canada’s reputation for civility.
In fact, rumors have begun to surface that Truduea’s invoking of the Emergency Powers Act was at the urging/threat from US President Joe Biden. (Editor’s note: at present, I have found no substantiating evidence of this. Stay tuned.)
But it is not hard to see that this same sort of thinking has taken root in the US as well.
“There is a pattern here. There is a method to the madness, for authoritarian leaders to use emergencies to seize absolute control, which they have accomplished by dividing and terrifying the people into complete submission. It’s not about public health and prevention of Covid. NYC, with America’s most burdensome mandates has one of the nation’s highest rates of Covid cases per capita. It’s about absolute power. It’s about using crises and emergencies to strengthen the power of government to mandate totalitarian rules.“
“This is America, where our freedom of speech, religious liberty, our right to bear arms, and all our fundamental rights that come from God, not government, are guaranteed by our US Constitution. Using Covid as an emergency in the name of total control, authoritarians now in control of our city, state, and federal governments must be vanquished. We the people must vote in every election large or small, to preserve the core principles that made our country great and get rid of these authoritarian foes.“-Erin Bullock
Officials hesitated to act against many protesters throughout the country over the past weeks for fear of violence. Veterans and right-wing extremists have taken part in the demonstrations, some of them armed.
Canada’s Emergencies Act, which gives law enforcement extraordinary authority to deal with a crisis, was invoked on Monday by Trudeau, dashing suspicions police and government allowed the demonstrations to grow. declare the blockades illegal, tow away trucks, arrest the drivers, suspend their licenses and freeze their bank accounts.
The protests have been cheered on and received donations from conservatives in the U.S. In fact, a liberal interpretation of the Act could also extend to slapping a “terrorist: label on ANYONE who even contributes to the protest, even if just food, water,, and medical supplies.
And governments don’t have to worry too much about the rights of terrorists; they can pretty much get away with indefinite incarceration without a pesky public trial.
And we have other precedent: Gum’Ments the world over have a tendency to follow the same playbook-and that once liberties are taken away they are rarely ever returned.
Power corrupts all. Through the wars and emergencies throughout the history of our nation, even some of our nation’s greatest leaders have fallen victim to power corruption. Japanese Americans were unfairly interned by FDR during World War II (COVID Camps). President Abraham Lincoln suspended the right to habeas corpus, which protects against unlawful arrest or detention during the Civil War.
The Sedition Act was passed in response to the threat of war with France, in order to suppress political speech (hate speech, false information, anti-vax) critical of the government for its own partisan advantage. A number of provisions in the USA Patriot Act were ruled unconstitutional in violation of the 4th Amendment after the 9/11 terrorist attacks in order to combat terrorism.
A power with absolute control corrupts a power with absolute control. War and emergencies were used as pretexts by dictators to seize absolute power during the last century.
The murderous dictators Vladimir Lenin and Adolf Hitler declared emergencies and took control. To overthrow the democratically elected Provisional Government of Alexander Kerensky, Lenin exploited the widespread disdain for Russia’s involvement in World War I to launch the October Revolution in 1917.
Nazi Germany made use of the desperation caused by the Great Depression in 1933.. The Reichstag fire in 1933, as well as the rumored communist revolution, provided Hitler with the pretext to seize complete and absolute power over Germany.
On Thursday, Ottawa police said they would end the protest and remove the more than 300 trucks, with the city’s interim police chief warning: “Action is imminent.“
This was preceded by an unprecedented move by the Canadian Red Cross to obtain food, MRE’s, and Personal Protection Equipment in quantities that have never been requested before.
On Friday, police began arresting protesters in Ottawa in the early morning, near Parliament Hill, where trucks were parked shoulder-to-shoulder, the heart of the protest zone. The police officers wore tactical uniforms and carried automatic weapons.
The two protest leader arrested were due in court Friday. Among the charges: mischief and obstructing police.
Ottawa residents were incensed by the bumper-to-bumper occupation, complaining that they were harassed and intimidated on the streets and obtaining a court injunction to stop the truckers’ continuous honking.
Demonstrations across Canada by truckers, tractors, and motorhomes initially targeted Canada’s vaccine requirements for truckers, but eventually broadened to attack Trudeau’s policies and COVID-19 precautions.
The Ambassador Bridge, between Windsor, Ontario, and Detroit, was the site of the biggest border blockade, hindering the flow of auto parts between the two countries. Following the arrest of dozens of protesters, authorities lifted the siege last weekend.
On Wednesday, the final border blockade between Manitoba and North Dakota peacefully ended.
The protests have been cheered on and received donations from conservatives in the U.S.