Canadian Police Order Anti-Mandate Protesters to Disperse

Canadian police on Tuesday ordered protesters to dismantle their blockade of a vital U.S. border crossing, while Ontario Premier Doug Ford ordered the demonstrators camped in Ottawa to disperse and return home after five days of occupying the national capital.

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) on Tuesday ordered protesters in Alberta to dismantle a barricade they created with their big rigs to block the Coutts border crossing into the United States. This particular border station is vital for Canadian exports of meat and imports of grain.

According to Alberta Premier Jason Kenney, some protesters refused to obey these orders and assaulted the RCMP officers, including one instance of someone trying to ram the Mounties with a vehicle. The RCMP eventually retreated after most of the protesters refused to disperse, and a few more even managed to slip past police barricades and join the border blockade.

“Without hesitation, I condemn those actions and I call for calm amongst anybody who feels sympathetic to those engaged in this blockade,” Kenney said.

The number of protesters in Ottawa appeared to decline on Tuesday, but their numbers remained substantial. Premier Doug Ford appealed to demonstrators to depart before the city’s economy was severely damaged.

“These businesses that have been closed for a while now – the restaurants want to reopen. So, I get it. I hear you. We have to let the people of Ottawa live their lives,” Ford said.

Ford added he had “zero tolerance” for reports of protesters defacing public monuments in Ottawa and said he found some of the flags and banners they carried “disgusting,” including flags from Nazi Germany and the U.S. Confederacy.

Ottawa Police Chief Peter Sloly said, “all options are on the table” to end the protests, which he said could have caused “significant and severe injuries” or “loss of life” by blocking city streets.

“We want to be very clear, both for the current demonstrations and any planned demonstrations: Illegal activity will not be tolerated,” Ottawa police said in a press release on Wednesday as they announced three arrests for vandalism, uttering threats, and bringing a weapon to a public meeting. Prior to those arrests, Sloly had stated that police had no evidence of any violence or property destruction related to the protests whatsoever.

Supporters of the Freedom Convoy protest Covid-19 vaccine mandates and restrictions on January 29, 2022 in Ottawa, Canada. – Hundreds of truckers drove their giant rigs into the Canadian capital Ottawa on Saturday as part of a self-titled “Freedom Convoy” to protest vaccine mandates required to cross the US border. (Photo by Dave Chan / AFP) (Photo by Dave Chan/AFP via Getty Images)

Canada’s National Post reported the police are under pressure from some Ottawa residents to take firmer action against the protests, which are forcing them to endure “the incessant blare of truck horns, traffic gridlock and harassment by some protesters.”

“The fastest way to get us out of the nation’s capital, is to call your elected representatives and end all mandates,” convoy leader Chris Barber responded on Wednesday.

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