On Thursday, police arrested Freedom Convoy protest leader Chris Barber in downtown Ottawa. Barber, who is currently in police custody and is expected to face criminal charges, has been described by authorities as one of the “key leaders” of the protest in Ottawa, which has been ongoing for three weeks. Barber’s arrest comes just days after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau enacted Canada’s “Emergencies Act” for the first time in the nation’s history.
When initially asked about the arrest by CBC, Ottawa police said they do not confirm or deny investigations about people until charges are brought forth. It was later announced that Barber has been charged with three separate charges, including “Counselling to commit the offense of mischief, counselling to commit the offence of disobey court order” and “counselling to commit the offense of obstructing police.”
Another protest leader, Tamara Lich, predicted that she would also be arrested in a video statement on Wednesday. “There’s a pretty good chance, well, I think it’s inevitable at this point,” Lich said while holding back tears. “And I want you to know that I am not afraid,” Lich continued. Lich was later arrested on Thursday night and charged with similar offenses.
Shortly before their arrest, Barber, Lich and other organizers released a list of demands, which included the removal of all vaccine and mask requirements. Other demands included relief for businesses harmed by COVID policies and allowing workers who were fired over mandates. Not one protest leader called for violence in the video statement.
Chris Barber, one of the Convoy “leaders” arrested. Unsure of the charges. pic.twitter.com/KeYByAaZjf
— bu/ac (@buperac) February 17, 2022
Canada’s arrest of protest leaders comes just days after PM Justin Trudeau invoked the nation’s Emergencies Act. Though Trudeau has ruled out an army deployment, the act gives the federal government extra powers to crack down on the protests. Under the new directives, the Canadian government has expanded its “terrorist financing” rules in order to freeze the protest movement’s funding. Trudeau has also assured Canadian citizens that the new restrictions and expansion of state power will be “time limited.”
The Trudeau regime has routinely smeared the peaceful protest movement as “far right” and accused them of having ties to “far right” groups. While defending his emergency declaration in parliament, Trudeau described the protesters as “people who wave the Confederate flag” and display Swastikas.
Despite the Trudeau government’s accusations, demonstrators have stated that their only goal is a removal of vaccine mandates and other COVID restrictions. The protest movement has remained entirely peaceful and non-violent.