Truckers brace for a police crackdown in besieged Ottawa

APTOPIX Canada Virus Outbreak Protests
Posted at 8:43 AM, Feb 17, 2022

OTTAWA, Ontario (AP) — Hundreds of truckers clogging the streets of Canada's capital city in a protest against COVID-19 restrictions are bracing for what could be a possible police crackdown.

Police are pouring in downtown Thursday morning.

But so far, there's no sign of officers attempting to quell the protest.

Protesters have besieged Ottawa for nearly three weeks in a demonstration that has shaken Canada's reputation for civility and rule-following.

Work crews also started erecting fences outside Parliament, and police are handing out warnings.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is scheduled to address Parliament Thursday morning, not far from the demonstrators.

On Monday, Trudeau invoked the country's Emergencies Act, which empowers law enforcement to declare the blockades illegal, tow away trucks, and punish the drivers by arresting them, the Associated Press reported.

Ottawa Police Chief Peter Sloly was ousted Tuesday amid criticism of inaction against the COVID-19 protests that have paralyzed the city.

The convoy is in Ottawa to protest against the COVID-19 vaccine mandate for truckers crossing the US-Canada border.

As of Tuesday, the police board said 360 vehicles were remaining in the blockade downtown, which is down from 4,000, the AP reported.