The Canadian trucker convoy lost some footing earlier this week. After blockading Ambassador Bridge for weeks, authorities managed to reopen the main access point for imports between Canada and the United States. The crowd dissipated after the ongoing blockade had forced the closure of two auto industry plants. Now, however, crowds still occupy Ottawa, the Canadian capital. But, after weeks of gridlock, police have begun making arrests of the demonstrations’ leaders in order to end the blockage.
Arrests began earlier this week, initially near Ambassador Bridge. However, crowds remain steadfast in Ottawa. Thursday night saw the city’s authorities arrest one of the truckers’ convoy’s leading members, Tamara Lich (47).
News of the individual’s arrest came from Dagny Pawlak, a spokeswoman for the truckers’ convoy. Of Lich’s arrest, the spokeswoman said it was “absolutely baseless and a disgrace to any liberal democracy, although not a surprise.”
According to the New York Times, Lich quickly emerged as the public face of the Canadian demonstrations. The outlet deemed her the most visible leader of the trucker convoy against pandemic restrictions. The news outlet also stated she has also an adept user of social media. There, she’s amplified the protestors’ grievances across the internet.
Simultaneously, Thursday saw the arrest of a second prominent leader within the trucker convoy named Chris Barber.
Law Enforcement Moves Against Trucker Convoy After Accusations of ‘Sluggish Response’
When the Freedom Convoy began, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was slow to take action. He noted at the time the demonstrators had largely remained peaceful. However, weeks of gridlock resulted in several plant closures and millions of lost dollars in revenue locally. As such, the PM administered the first national public order emergency in half a century in an effort to conclude the protests.
The move, according to the news outlet, resulted in a heavier law enforcement presence. Prior to the latest action, locals had deemed law enforcement’s initial response to the situation sluggish. As a result, city, provincial, and national police surrounded the capital on Thursday, after various officials made promises for increased arrests and accompanying consequences earlier this week.
In addition to arrests, efforts to quell the city’s blockage included the seizure of the demonstrators’ vehicles, among other measures. Previously, donations toward the Freedom Convoy were frozen by the nation’s government, blocking both public and private access to the truckers’ funds.
Further, after massive sums of lost revenue, a class-action lawsuit against the city’s protestors grew to include even more locals and businesses. As of now, the massive lawsuit seeks about 306 million Canadian dollars in compensation.
In conclusion, Trudeau, addressing the House of Commons, stated, “It is high time that these illegal and dangerous activities stop, including here in Ottawa.”