Canadian police were working on Saturday restore normality to the country’s capital after trucks and demonstrators occupied the downtown core of Ottawa for more than three weeks to protest against pandemic restrictions.
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The push to clear the city began on Friday and continued into the night.
Four of the main organisers have already been taken into custody and more than 100 protesters have been arrested as hundreds of officers, including some on horseback, formed lines and slowly pushed them away from their vehicles.
Police said protesters had showed “assaultive behavior”, and police on horseback were brought in to “create space”, according to a statement.
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Chrystia Freeland said: "I want to first provide a brief update on the financial measures that we introduced through the Emergencies Act to target the illegal blockades and those who fund
As I said yesterday, information is already being shared between our law enforcement agencies and Canada’s financial services providers. Action is being taken.
"So let me repeat again what I said yesterday: If your truck is being used in these protests, your bank account will be frozen, and your insurance will be suspended. The consequences for taking part in these illegal blockades are real. If you are in Ottawa, it is time for you to go home.
"If you are thinking about driving to Ottawa to take part in the illegal occupation this weekend, you should not. But I also want to say this: we have taken no joy in invoking these measures. They are unprecedented, and for good reason.
"The vast majority of Canadians are hardworking and law-abiding. We are all sick and tired of a pandemic that we have been dealing with for almost two years. When this crisis is over, all of us are going to need to work hard to heal our country. But today, our economy and our democracy are facing a serious and foreign-funded threat.
"These illegal blockades and occupations cannot be allowed to usurp the authority of democratically-elected governments. They cannot be allowed to threaten peace, order, and good government — and they will not be allowed to do so. These illegal blockades and occupations will end, and they will end for good," Freeland said. ■