Police begin crackdown on Canadian “Freedom Convoy”

Police have begun issuing citations and arresting people after Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson issued a state of emergency on Sunday in relation to the ongoing protests known as the “Freedom Convoy” (https://www.foxnews.com/world/canada-freedom-convoy-ottawa-police-arrest-tickets-fuel). The Freedom Convoy began in response to the January 15 mandate from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau that required truckers who crossed the U.S./Canada border to get vaccinated or quarantine following a border crossing. Truckers from across the country began forming a convoy to meet up and protest in the country’s capital. While the protests originally focused on the mandate, they have since expanded to include most of Canada’s current COVID restrictions.

500 trucks still remain in Ottawa leading Mayor Watson to declare a state of emergency. 100 tickets have since been issued and 7 people have been arrested. Ottawa Police have also warned anyone bringing fuel to the trucks, threatening them with arrests and charges. Ottawa Police Chief Peter Sloly said, "This is a siege — it is something that is different in our democracy than I’ve ever experienced in my life. We do not have sufficient resources to adequately and effectively address this situation." Ontario Premier Doug Ford has even likened the protests to an ongoing occupation.

The convoy has gained notoriety over the past week, building support among American conservatives including former President Donald Trump, Texas Senator Ted Cruz, and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis. Protestors have also received a significant amount of donations through GoFundMe, but have since moved to the site GiveSendGo as GoFundMe shutdown the campaign.

Many protestors have committed to staying in Ottawa until the mandate is rescinded. Will they ultimately prevail or will the Canadian government double down and remove the protestors sooner than later? Is this group a fringe minority as PM Trudeau described them, or do they point to a growing distrust against perpetual government mandates?

Image Credit: Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press via AP

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