A man arrested during the Freedom Convoy crackdown this week said his captors were “as dumb as a bag of hammers.” Guy Meister said he couldn’t believe how disorganized the police in Ottawa seemed as they tried to break up protests across the city.
The 53-year-old Nova Scotia trucker took part in the three-week-long Freedom Convoy blockade of much of the Canadian capital. Hundreds of big rigs blocked major roads and clogged streets to protest the country’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate. Last week, police began to push protestors back and tow away the trucks.
Meister told the Daily Mail that he was in his parked big rig just outside of the “Hardened Zone” in downtown Ottawa when police in riot gear surrounded his truck on Friday.
“You could tell they were overwhelmed,” Meister said. “They were as dumb as a bag of hammers.”
He said his arrest was a comedy of errors.
“They wanted to take my booking photograph, but I had to wait for several minutes because they were having issues with the ‘mug shot board,’ he added. “They first took my picture before they realized that it didn’t have any numbers on the board I was holding. What should have taken a few minutes turned into 20 minutes, all in the freezing cold.”
Meister wasn’t alone in his assessment. He said he overheard officers complain about confusion in the ranks.
“While I was in the paddy wagon waiting to be processed, I could hear the cops complaining to each other about how disorganized the entire situation was and complaining about the lack of planning on the part of their superiors.”
Canada Votes to Extend PM Trudeau’s Emergency Powers
The Freedom Convoy protests are over, but Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s emergency powers will remain. Canadian lawmakers on Monday voted 185-151 to extended those powers as authorities work to prevent further demonstrations.
“The situation is still fragile, the state of emergency is still there,” Trudeau said ahead of a vote the Associated Press reported.
The protests in Ottawa began on Jan. 29 and cost the country billions of dollars in lost trade with America, officials said.
The prime minister invoked the emergencies act last week to give the government more options to break up protests. Authorities could declare certain areas of the city no-go zones and arrest anyone there without permission. The government could freeze the bank accounts of freedom convoy members.
Police arrested hundreds of people and towed away trucks that were blocking streets. But new reports say that protestors are lying in wait around the nation’s capital to reform.
“They need to be cleared out,” Opposition New Democratic Party leader Jagmeet Singh said. “This is an attack on our democracy. This is a group of folks who are very clearly connected to the extreme right-wing. The organizers clearly have a goal in mind to undermine democracy. That’s something we can’t allow to continue.”