Dave Chan/AFP via Getty Images
Police in Ottawa are continuing their push to clear protesters from the streets of Canada’s capital after three weeks of demonstrations against the country’s COVID-19 restrictions.
Police made more than 100 arrests on Friday and around two dozen vehicles were towed from the streets, according to the Associated Press. Early Saturday, officers focused their attention on the streets surrounding Parliament that the demonstrators set up as their main encampment.
The clearing began Friday after Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau invoked the country’s Emergencies Act earlier in the week. Doing this gave the government authority to “restore order” to the streets that the protest movement known as the Freedom Convoy were blocking.
Ahead of Saturday’s second push to clear the protests, the Ottawa Police Department encouraged people remaining to leave and explained why they would be wearing helmets and batons going forward.
“We told you to leave. We gave you time to leave. We were slow and methodical, yet you were assaultive and aggressive with officers and the horses,” Ottawa police said on Twitter Saturday morning. “Based on your behaviour, we are responding by including helmets and batons for our safety.”
The protests, which began as opposition to a vaccine mandate for truckers entering Canada, have morphed into larger anti-COVID restrictions movement.