Speed Reads

the silence of the honks

Freedom Convoy: Police arrest almost 200 protesters and tow more than 50 vehicles in Ottawa

Canadian police took aggressive action over the weekend to break up the Freedom Convoy protests that have occupied downtown Ottawa for three weeks, USA Today reported.

Police arrested 191 people and towed 57 vehicles on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, according to Ottawa Police.

Officers used batons and "chemical irritant" against protesters, who they described as "aggressive and assaultive" and accused of using children to shield themselves from police, CNN reported. Videos appear to show some demonstrators being trampled by police horses.

Police said one protester threw a bicycle at a police horse. Another was arrested after allegedly launching a gas canister.

"If you were involved in this protest we will actively look to identify you and follow up with financial sanctions and criminal charges, absolutely. This investigation will go on for months to come," Interim Ottawa Police Chief Steve Bell said Saturday, according to BuzzFeed News.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau invoked the country's Emergencies Act on Monday, empowering his government to freeze Canadians' bank accounts and compel tow truck drivers to remove protesters' vehicles. Critics from Canada's Conservative Party called Trudeau a "dictator" in response.

According to Reuters and CBC, Canada's federal government and the provinces of Saskatchewan, Alberta, Ottawa, and Quebec have all relaxed COVID restrictions since the protests began.