The core of a more than three-week occupation staged by a group of truckers in downtown Ottawa against COVID-vaccine mandates and other pandemic restrictions has been cleared following the largest police operation in Canadian history.
Since the operation began on Friday, police have arrested nearly 200 people and towed almost 60 vehicles, including big rigs, away from the streets around the Canadian Parliament. By Saturday evening, the protesters who hadn’t been detained had effectively abandoned the area, and the city’s interim police chief declared that “this unlawful occupation is over.” By Sunday, security fences had been erected, and cleanup (and, this being Ottawa, snow removal) were underway.
While the so-called “Freedom Convoy” protest stronghold in Ottawa is finally now gone, people aligning themselves with the truckers are still trying to stage other protests throughout Canada, including at a U.S. border crossing in British Columbia on Saturday.
In recent weeks, the Canadian protests have inspired convoy-style demonstrations attended by anti-vaxxers and anti-government activists abroad. There is also an effort underway to stage a similar convoy protest in the U.S., where the Canadian truckers’ story has been a cause célèbre for many figures on the American right and on right-wing media. As Grid News reported Friday, those behind the so-called “People’s Convoy” are hoping a thousand truckers from across the U.S. will join the convoy, which is supposed to depart from California this week and converge on Washington, D.C., by March 1, when President Biden is scheduled to give his annual State of the Union address to Congress. It’s not yet clear how the protest will play out. At the very least, it’s unlikely D.C. authorities will be caught off guard in light of what happened in Ottawa this month, or at the U.S. Capitol a year ago in January.