Over 100 demonstrators were arrested on Friday after the Ottawa police service began to dismantle the Freedom Convoy protests. Some protesters were trampled by mounted police, including a handicapped elderly woman, as riot cops advanced with support from armored vehicles and SWAT units. Protesters remain camped outside Canadian federal buildings as of Friday night, though Ottawa police have managed to significantly tighten the perimeter.
Snipers were posted atop Ottawa buildings as hundreds of police officers in riot gear began to surround Freedom Convoy protesters on Friday morning. The police then began to close the perimeter around the protesters, making arrests as they advanced. At one point, an incapacitated man was kneed in the stomach by an Ottawa police officer before being thrown on the ground and arrested. Ottawa police also smashed truck windows and raided mobile homes with tactical units.
Action outside the secured area at Somerset/Bayswater. Gatineau police and RCMP stop cars, smash window of that VW. Occupants from Windsor said they were just carrying first aid supplies. pic.twitter.com/mB4tNYSqTx
— Jon Willing (@JonathanWilling) February 18, 2022
Ottawa Police have also reported that over 20 rigs have been towed away from downtown Ottawa. After initially struggling to find willing tow truck drivers, police brought in unmarked trucks to move the rigs. Tow trucks with blacked out company insignias and no license plates could be seen towing rigs away in a video captured by Reuters. The drivers of the trucks also donned ski masks in order to conceal their identities.
Tow trucks hauled away vehicles blockading central Ottawa and protesters scuffled with police who made arrests on Friday to end a trucker-led movement that has challenged Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's government https://t.co/7RZPVqqlra pic.twitter.com/W0D33CmAQA
— Reuters (@Reuters) February 19, 2022
In another incident, an elderly woman on a mobile scooter was trampled by mounted police who plowed through a crowd of demonstrators. “We are peaceful protest,” the woman can be heard saying in a mobile phone video. Seconds later, a group of mounted police plowed through the crowd, trampling both the handicapped woman and another protester, whose head appeared to have been stomped on by a horse. Riot police then rushed forward and surrounded the trampled protesters.
The Ottawa Police service have claimed that a bicycle was thrown at the mounted police officers who ended up trampling the unnamed woman. “We’re unaware of any injuries. A bicycle was thrown at the horse further down the line and caused the horse to trip. The horse was uninjured,” the department said in a statement.
In a widely circulated aerial photo of the incident, the trampled woman’s mobile scooter can clearly be seen on the ground. It is unclear whether this is the “bicycle” referenced by the Ottawa Police Service. It is also unlikely that the trampled protesters were able to walk away, as police immediately pushed forward and surrounded them.
Ottawa Police contend that a protester had thrown a bicycle at the horses but protestors who I spoke with deny the allegations pic.twitter.com/RdqU2Jk7aI
— Sara A. Carter (@SaraCarterDC) February 19, 2022
The brutal crackdown comes just a day after Freedom Convoy protest organizers Tamara Lich and Chris Barber were arrested in downtown Ottawa. Other protest leaders were later arrested on Friday while Lich and Barber have been charged with “conspiracy to commit mischief”, which is a serious offence in Canada that could lead to multiple years in prison. Barber’s bond was set at $100,000 while Lich has a bail hearing scheduled for Saturday morning.
The protesters have remained entirely peaceful despite a litany of baseless claims from the Trudeau regime. Trudeau has repeatedly accused protesters of having ties to “far-right groups” and “white supremacy” despite the protest’s aims being entirely tied to COVID restrictions and vaccine mandates. Among Freedom Convoy demands are an end to vaccine mandates, relief for businesses affected by COVID lockdowns and the rehiring of workers who were fired as a result of vaccine mandates.
Trudeau has refused to meet with the protesters, however, and instead invoked Canada’s Emergencies Act for the first time in the nation’s history. The act gives the Trudeau regime sweeping powers, including the ability to freeze bank accounts belonging to dissidents. Trudeau has promised that his new powers will be “time-limited.”
As of Friday evening, protesters remain camped outside Canada’s parliament building despite orders to disperse or face arrest.