Two people, whom he described as leaders of the protests, were arrested late Thursday evening. And the police announced during the evening, that preparations were underway to end the protests outside the parliament building and other places in the city, and that more than 300 trucks would be removed.
Hundreds of trucks were still shutting down central parts of Ottawa on Friday morning local time. Parliament has suspended its work for the first time as police prepare to stop the protest.
The police presence increased significantly on Thursday when police buses arrived. New roadblocks have been put in place around government buildings and large parts of the inner city have been cordoned off – in part to stop those who want to help the protesters.
Accounts have been suspended
On Thursday, Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland announced that several banks had frozen the accounts of people involved in the protest. This is after the Federal Police (RCMP) collected information about them and shared it with financial institutions. According to the Minister of Finance, additional accounts will be frozen. The purpose is to make sure organizers don’t have the money to continue the protest, the Public Service Corporation reports CBC.
Chrystia Freeland, who is also the country’s deputy prime minister, warned participants in the large vehicle protest that their insurance policies would be canceled and their company accounts closed.
The consequences are real and you will feel them, she says.
Acting Ottawa Police Chief Steve Bell said on Thursday they wanted to continue negotiations with the protesters and had tried to persuade them to go home.
We want this demonstration to end peacefully. But if they don’t leave, we have other plans, he said then.
However, many participants in the protest movement who call themselves the “Freedom Caravan” appeared unimpressed by the police’s warnings.
“I’m willing to sit here and watch when they use pepper spray against me,” says Pat King, who is described as one of the leaders of the movement.
There are no tow trucks in Canada that would touch them, he says of all the trucks parked in the city.
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