Police in the Canadian capital Ottawa on Wednesday warned truck drivers blockading the downtown core to depart or face arrest in crackdown seeking to end a three-week-old protest over COVID restrictions.
Interim Police Chief Steve Bell vowed “to take back the entirety of the downtown core and every occupied space” in “coming days.”
Federal Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino accused extremist groups of helping organize protests in Ottawa and at U.S. border crossings and repeated suggestions that some actors wanted to overthrow the Liberal government.
Police handed leaflets to truckers that said, “You must leave the area now. Anyone blocking streets … may be arrested.” Police also ticketed some of the hundreds of vehicles blocking Ottawa’s downtown core.
At least one large rig left while some demonstrators put the leaflets into a toilet placed in front of a truck. Some truckers blew their horns in violation of a court order forbidding such behavior.
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