Police moved in to arrest Canadian protesters in downtown Ottawa Friday morning, with the goal of ending weekslong demonstrations that have transformed into a referendum on the country's COVID-19 restrictions and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's handling of the pandemic, The Associated Press reports.
Hundreds of officers began handcuffing protesters and towing away vehicles as truckers "blared their horns in defiance," AP writes. Though some on the streets surrendered, other invidiuals "remained defiant as the crackdown on the self-styled Freedom Convoy unfolded."
The Ottawa Police have thus far reportedly accounted for 15 arrests, and have "created a perimeter with about 100 checkpoints in Ottawa's downtown core, to keep anyone but residents from entering," writes The New York Times. Canada's capital city has become the "last stronghold" in the truckers' political demonstration, AP notes.
Authorities, who have until now "hesitated to move against many of the protesters," writes AP, arrested two of the convoy's main organizers — Tamara Lich and Chris Barber — late Thursday. Also this week, Trudeau declared a national public order emergency, "the first such declaration in half a century," in a bid to end the chaos, notes the Times.