Ottawa (Reuters) – Canadian police on Friday started arresting protesters as part of an operation to end a three-week blockade of Ottawa by hundreds of truck drivers that crippled the capital and prompted Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to assume emergency powers.
Live television footage showed police making at least seven arrests, without using any force. Officers had detained two of the protest leaders late on Thursday.
“Some protesters are surrendering and are being arrested. We ask protesters to remain peaceful and lawful,” the Ottawa police said in a tweet.
The drivers, joined by thousands of demonstrators and some 400 vehicles, turned the streets around Parliament into a noisy party zone since first arriving on Jan. 28, in what has become one of the worst crises to hit Trudeau since he took power in 2015.
The drivers initially demanded an end to cross-border COVID-19 vaccine mandates but the protest gradually turned into an anti-government and anti-Trudeau demonstration.