Middle East

Canadian Police Regain Ottawa Center

Canadian police yesterday broke the window of an abandoned car in the heart of downtown the capital, searched for it, and towed it. After two days of standoffs, city workers cleaned up the trash and arrested 191 people to end Ottawa’s three-week occupation.
Since January 28, demonstrators have used hundreds of trucks and vehicles to blockade the city center and urge Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to summon a rarely used emergency power source.
By noon, 57 vehicles had been towed, police said.
The streets of the Canadian capital have been quiet for the first time in three weeks after a large police operation ended a thorough siege of coronavirus (Covid-19) health rules.
The last few protesters stayed late Saturday night, singing the 80’s protest national anthem and launching fireworks at a 4m (13ft) high security fence built on parliamentary grounds.
However, the last gasping protest turned into a street party, and a deep freeze struck the city, making a noise.
Police staffed the checkpoint yesterday morning to limit access to the 500-acre downtown area, but considerable troops were waiting to protect the reclaimed ground from truck drivers.
AFP journalists saw only a handful of protesters in the area and tested their surroundings.
Ottawa police have issued a reminder that the core area remains off limits, except for locals and workers.
Police tweeted that two people had just been arrested in the morning and a total of 191 people have been arrested since the police moved in on Friday.
Meanwhile, the crew unloaded the last tents, food stalls, and other temporary structures built by the demonstrators, and removed snow mountains from the streets in preparation for the reopening of local businesses.
And for the first time in a few weeks, Ottawa residents weren’t surprised to wake up to the constant horn that became a staple of protest.
One resident said he was relieved.
“We seem to have overcome the hump,” Tim Abrey, who lives in Ottawa, told the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC).
But communication consultants said political divisions wouldn’t go away so easily.
Many protesters refused to admit defeat after being expelled and said they would continue to push their cause to AFP.
Several Strugglers yesterday began packing the so-called “Freedom Convoy” logistics depot in a parking lot near the highway to supply protesters who camped a few kilometers away from the Capitol. ..
Winton Merchant, a retired firefighter from Windsor, Ontario, said: “This is a base camp and we are cleaning up.”
Canada’s pandemic health regulations have been relaxed due to the declining number of cases, but protesters have vowed to call for a complete lift of one of the world’s toughest regulations.
Meanwhile, the Trudeau administration is facing a proceeding from a civil liberty group and is facing opposition from political rivals over its decision to exercise rarely used emergency powers to crack down on tort.
This is despite polls showing that Canadians, who were once sympathetic to the truck driver-led movement, opposed them.
Trudeau himself kept his distance and refrained from public comment during the police operation.
The convoy started a month ago in protest against the mandatory Covid-19 vaccine to cross the US border.
It has affected imitators in other countries, and Washington is seeking a truck driver protest that may be consistent with next week’s State of the Union address.
A Canadian convoy has triggered an economically damaging blockade at the US border, which police cleared a week ago.
Dozens, including at least three protest leaders, were arrested and $ 32 million in bank accounts and donations related to the truck driver movement were frozen.
Interim police chief Steve Bell of Ottawa said on Saturday that protesters who have left the city since being filmed by police will be held liable.
“We will proactively identify you and follow up on economic sanctions and criminal accusations … This investigation will continue in the coming months,” officials warned.

http://www.gulf-times.com/story/710269/Canadian-police-reclaim-Ottawa-centre Canadian Police Regain Ottawa Center

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