Loading...

Trudeau Says Protests Must End, Truckers Brace for Crackdown

February 17, 2022by Rob Gillies and Wilson Ring, Associated Press
Trudeau Says Protests Must End, Truckers Brace for Crackdown
Police are followed by yelling protesters as they attempt to hand out notices to protesters in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, on Thursday, Feb. 17, 2022. (Justin Tang /The Canadian Press via AP)

OTTAWA, Ontario (AP) — Police poured into downtown Ottawa on Thursday in what truckers feared was a prelude to a crackdown on their nearly three-week, street-clogging protest against Canada’s COVID-19 restrictions.

Work crews in the capital began erecting fences outside Parliament, and for the second day in a row, officers handed out warnings to the protesters to leave. Busloads of police converged on the area.

“It’s high time that these illegal and dangerous activities stop,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau declared in Parliament, not far from where the more than 300 trucks were parked.

“They are a threat to our economy and our relationship with trading partners,” he said. “They are a threat to public safety.”

Many of the protesters in the self-styled Freedom Convoy reacted to the warnings with scorn.

“I’m prepared sit on my ass and watch them hit me with pepper spray,” said one of their leaders, Pat King. As for the big rigs parked bumper-to-bumper, he said: “There’s no tow trucks in Canada that will touch them.”

Ottawa represented the movement’s last stronghold after weeks of demonstrations and blockades that shut down border crossings into the U.S., inflicted economic damage on both countries and created a political crisis for Trudeau.

The protests have shaken Canada’s reputation for civility and rule-following and inspired similar convoys in France, New Zealand and the Netherlands.

Early this week, Trudeau invoked Canada’s Emergencies Act, empowering law enforcement authorities to declare the blockades illegal, tow away trucks and punish the drivers by arresting them, freezing their bank accounts and suspending their licenses.

On Wednesday, Ottawa police handed out leaflets warning the truckers to leave immediately or face the consequences, and the city’s police chief declared his intention to break the siege and take back downtown “in the coming days.”

Officers on Thursday delivered a third round of warnings and also placed notices on vehicles, helpfully advising owners how and where to pick up their trucks if they are towed.

The occupation has infuriated many Ottawa residents.

“We’ve seen people intimidated, harassed and threatened. We’ve seen apartment buildings that have been chained up. We have seen fires set in the corridors. Residents are terrorized,” said Canadian Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino. “And it is absolutely gut-wrenching to see the sense of abandonment and helplessness that they have felt now for weeks.”

The protests around the country by demonstrators in trucks, tractors and motor homes initially focused on Canada’s vaccine requirement for truckers entering the country but soon morphed into a broader attack on COVID-19 precautions and Trudeau’s government.

The movement has drawn support from right-wing extremists and veterans, some of them armed, and authorities have hesitated to move against them, in part out of fear of violence.

Fox News personalities and U.S. conservatives such as Donald Trump have egged on the protests, and Trudeau complained on Thursday that “roughly half of the funding to the barricaders here is coming from the United States.”

In Ottawa, the trucks were parked shoulder-to-shoulder downtown, some with tires removed to hamper towing. Some were said to chained together.

Police were especially worried about the children who earlier this week were seen playing in the streets and being pushed by parents in strollers through the occupied area.

___

Gillies reported from Toronto. Associated Press writer Robert Bumsted in Ottawa and Andrew Selsky in Salem, Oregon, contributed to this report.

In The News

Health

Voting

In The News

August 15, 2022
by Tom Ramstack
FBI Warns of Violent Threats After Search of Trump’s Home

WASHINGTON — The FBI is warning this week about the increased risk of politically motivated "violent threats" following the Aug.... Read More

WASHINGTON — The FBI is warning this week about the increased risk of politically motivated "violent threats" following the Aug. 8 search of former President Donald Trump's Florida estate. Many of the threats are directed at law enforcement and government personnel. They include advice to watch... Read More

August 15, 2022
by Dan McCue
$44M Available From DOE for Innovation in Geothermal Sector

WASHINGTON — Up to $44 million is being made available for projects to develop and test technology to foster innovation... Read More

WASHINGTON — Up to $44 million is being made available for projects to develop and test technology to foster innovation in enhanced geothermal energy systems, the U.S. Department of Energy announced Monday. The funding opportunity is being managed by the DOE’s Frontier Observatory for Research in... Read More

August 15, 2022
by TWN Staff
REPORT: Health Equity Depends on What Happens at the Ballot Box

The Tennessee Justice Center has authored a policy brief that explains the cyclic relationship between voting and health, as well... Read More

The Tennessee Justice Center has authored a policy brief that explains the cyclic relationship between voting and health, as well as the impact of politics on health care.   According to the brief, voting creates a sense of belonging to the community, which leads to happier... Read More

August 15, 2022
by Dan McCue
Comment Period Extended on Gulf Wind Energy Proposal

WASHINGTON — The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management has extended the deadline to make comments on two potential wind energy... Read More

WASHINGTON — The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management has extended the deadline to make comments on two potential wind energy areas in the Gulf of Mexico Outer Continental Shelf to Sept. 2. Previously the deadline for responses and comments had been Aug. 19, this Friday. On... Read More

August 15, 2022
by Dan McCue
Massachusetts Governor Signs Climate Bill

BOSTON — Republican Gov. Charlie Baker of Massachusetts has signed a climate bill that both boosts support for renewable energy... Read More

BOSTON — Republican Gov. Charlie Baker of Massachusetts has signed a climate bill that both boosts support for renewable energy and sets limits on fossil fuel use. The Massachusetts state Legislature passed the bill at a time when the federal Build Back Better plan appeared dead,... Read More

August 15, 2022
by Dan McCue
Ford Makes ‘Largest Renewable Energy Purchase’ With DTE Energy

DETROIT — The Ford Motor Company has signed an agreement to purchase 650 MW of solar power from Michigan utility... Read More

DETROIT — The Ford Motor Company has signed an agreement to purchase 650 MW of solar power from Michigan utility DTE Energy in a bid to make the car maker’s Michigan operations carbon free by 2025 — a full decade before the goal set for the... Read More

News From The Well