- The Washington Times - Saturday, February 19, 2022

The Canadian government has frozen more than $3 million Canadian under sweeping emergency powers invoked to quell demonstrations against COVID-19 mandates that have gripped Ottawa for nearly three weeks, authorities announced Saturday.

Canadian Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino said Saturday that at least 76 accounts have been targeted under the emergency measures in the past five days.

He said the seizures show “very obviously how the Emergency Act is being used to bring about the peaceful conclusion of the illegal blockades.”



Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau invoked Canada’s Emergencies Act earlier this week, which gives the government broad authority to crack down on protesters.

Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland also announced that the government will crack down on crowdfunding sites used to support the protests under broadened anti-money-laundering regulations.

Canadian authorities had yet to provide specifics about what accounts would be targeted under the broadened authorities designed to pressure protesters to end the standoff.

Mr. Mendicino said Saturday that authorities were working with “small and medium-sized banks” to enforce the directives.

The officials announced details as Ottawa Police continued to clear the Freedom Convoys’ last remaining stronghold in the capital city.

Police began a highly coordinated crackdown on protesters Friday when hundreds of police officers, some clad in riot gear, converged on what authorities designated as a “secured zone.”

Citing the recently invoked Emergencies Act, police began establishing checkpoints throughout the city late Thursday and warned residents to avoid the “downtown core” as officers prepared to raid the truckers who have been demonstrating against Canada’s COVID-19 vaccine mandates.

By Friday evening, at least 100 people had been arrested in connection with the protests and dozens of vehicles had been towed from Ottawa’s city center.

Among those arrested were four organizers behind the movement.

The police operation continued Saturday, with police announcing 47 additional arrests Saturday afternoon.

Ottawa Police posted a steady stream of updates on Twitter as they worked to clear protestors.

“Protesters continue to be aggressive and assaultive on officers,” one post read. “They are refusing to comply with the orders to move. You will have seen officers use a chemical irritant in an effort to stop the assaultive behavior and for officer safety.”

The updates were interspersed with warnings to protesters that anyone found within the established security perimeter would be arrested.

“We told you to leave,” Ottawa Police said in a Tweet. “We gave you time to leave. We were slow and methodical, yet you were assaultive and aggressive with officers and the horses. Based on your behavior, we are responding by including helmets and batons for our safety,”

Police said protesters launched gas at police and arrested one protester wearing body armor and carrying smoke grenades and fireworks.

Police also raised concerns over the presence of children among the demonstrators.

Protesters have become incensed by what they call a draconian crackdown on their right to protest.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau invoked Canada’s Emergencies Act earlier this week, which gives the government broad authority to crack down on protesters.

Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland also announced that the government will crack down on crowdfunding sites used to support the protests under broadened anti-money-laundering regulations.

The escalation was criticized by some Canadian officials and by the Canadian Civil Liberties Association (CCLA), which said the move is an overreach to silence dissent.

Late last week, police began clearing a blockade at the Ambassador Bridge, a key border crossing with Michigan, that had forced U.S. auto manufacturers to cut production due to parts shortages.

Earlier this week, authorities began clearing the Coutts, Alberta, border crossing into Montana.

On Monday, Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) seized a cache of weapons and arrested 13 and seized a cache of weapons in connection with the blockade.

The RCMP said Tuesday that four protesters at the Coutts border crossing had been charged with conspiracy to murder in addition to weapons possessions charges.

Demonstrators began clearing the crossing as police moved in, and Canada’s minister of public safety announced Tuesday afternoon that the Coutts border crossing had officially reopened.

Police cleared the last remaining border blockade in Manitoba, across from North Dakota, on Wednesday.

-This article includes wire reporting

• Joseph Clark can be reached at jclark@washingtontimes.com.

Copyright © 2022 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

Please read our comment policy before commenting.

Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide