Ottawa police arrest protesters to end Canadian trucker blockade | Protests News

Police in Ottawa are working to clear the centre of the capital three weeks after protests shut it down.

Ottawa police asked protestors to “remain peaceful and lawful” as they moved in to clear protests that have blockaded the centre of the Canadian capital for three weeks.

Dozens of police vehicles including a large black armored car and perhaps 100 police officers, arrived near Mackenzie King Bridge and Waller street next to the Ottawa art gallery at about 8am (1300GMT) Friday, where about 20 vehicles have been parked since late January, blocking the roadway, said Al Jazeera’s Roger Lemoyne in Ottawa.

“If you do not leave now, you will be arrested,” police said banging on windows of vehicles. At least four people were arrested.

A black pickup truck with a Canadian flag on the back driven by a man was allowed to leave.

Some cars appeared to be empty.

Ottawa police and Ontario Provnicial police were among the forces moving people at the site about a kilometre (.62 mile) from Parliament Hill.

Police had arrested two leaders of the protest on Thursday. They had begun warning truckers in Ottawa Wednesday that they had to leave or face arrest. 

The self-styled “Freedom Convoy” converged on Ottawa January 28, protesting coronavirus restrictions and demanding they be ended. Trucks blocked the streets around Parliament Hill and have remained since, occupying several central residential blocks.

The movement, organized by far-right activists, sparked other demonstrations in Canada, including several on the US-Canada border, halting trade for days and forcing the shutdown of auto plants in both countries because of parts shortages.

Protesters at the Ambassador Bridge, the busiest crossing were cleared out on Sunday, with more than two dozen people peacefully arrested, police said.

Police officers detain a man protesting in OttawaPolice officers detain a man, as truckers and supporters continue to protest COVID-19 vaccine mandates, in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada [Carlos Osorio/Reuters]

On Monday Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau invoked never before used emergency powers to suspend certain civil rights so the police could move the protesters.

Trudeau said the move was solely to deal with blockades and said the “measures will be time-limited, geographically-targeted, as well as reasonable and proportionate to the threats they are meant to address”.

Amid news that the police were going to end the blockades, Canada’s House of Commons canceled its work Friday.

Roger Lemoyne in Ottawa contributed reporting.

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