On Feb. 18 scores of police officers descended on the Freedom Convoy protests on Ottawa’s Parliament Hill following the arrests of at least two of the convoy’s leaders, Tamara Lich and Chris Barber.
Lich and Barber were both arrested on charges of counselling to commit mischief, obstruction and counselling to commit obstruction, The Globe and Mail reported.
Numerous videos have surfaced online showing police convening on the protest area which has been designated a “no-go zone” under the recently invoked Emergencies Act.
Anyone found in the area risks arrest.
Popular YouTube streamer “ZOT” who has been painstakingly broadcasting live feeds of the protests since they began over 20 days ago was arrested while streaming Friday morning. He captured his own arrest on video.
Scenes of protesters linking arms and yelling “hold the line” and “freedom” while inserting themselves between police and the truckers were broadcast live.
Several members of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), on horseback, were also at the scene which is being described as “intense” by live streamers.
Keean Bexte, an independent journalist with Canada’s The Counter Signal tweeted Friday morning, “Police are preparing to use acoustic weapons against the protesters. I understand that the LRAD being used may be military equipment. If true, this is shocking. This is Trudeau mounting civil war against unarmed, peaceful demonstrators.”
Reporters on the ground with Rebel News confirmed that a device labelled “LRAD” was deployed however it is unclear whether it was used on the peaceful protesters.
Several officers were heavily armed and dressed in full camouflage, appearing more like military personnel than a domestic police force.
The authorities, via loudspeaker, told the protesters “You must leave. You will be arrested. Leave north on Sussex” however, few appeared to be willing to comply with the demand.
Minors are reportedly part of the front lines of the demonstration.
A debate among parliamentarians on Trudeau’s decision to invoke the Emergencies Act, scheduled to begin Friday morning, was postponed with authorities citing the police operation to clear Parliament Hill of protesters as the reason for the delay.
Referring to the operation as “one of the largest law enforcement operations in Canadian history” the Globe and Mail reported that the removal of trucks belonging to the protesting truckers has begun.
“Some police officers were heavily armed with machine guns and what appeared to be gas cannisters, others wore helmets and carried large batons,” The Globe and Mail reported.
No acts of violence by the protesters have emerged after over 20 days of sustained dissent. The protests, characterized as a “violent insurrection” by the legacy and corporate media, have appeared more like a winter festival than anything else.
Media are being afforded limited access to report on the police operation.
The Ottawa Police tweeted on Friday morning, “All media who are attending the area, please keep a distance and stay out of police operations for your safety. Anyone found within areas undergoing enforcement may be subject to arrest. There will be a media availability later today at 474 Elgin Street. #ottnews.”
The notice prompted grassroots media icon, Ezra Levant to tweet, “Journalists, go home. You’ve been declared illegal. The Police will tell the public everything they need to know.”