OTTAWA, Ontario — Authorities in Canada are beginning to arrest protesters who have paralyzed traffic in the capital city of Ottawa for three weeks in a demonstration against the country's COVID-19 restrictions.
Police in Ottawa say some protesters are surrendering and being arrested downtown Friday morning.
One person being led away was carrying a sign that says "Mandate Freedom."
Police already arrested two of the protest's leaders, Tamara Lich and Chris Barber, late Thursday and have sealed off much of the downtown area to outsiders.
According to the CBC, Barber, 46, is charged with counseling to commit mischief, counseling to commit the offense of disobeying a court order, and counseling to obstruct police. Lich, 49, is charged with counseling to commit the offense of mischief. Both are due in court Friday.
The protesters, who call themselves the "Freedom Convoy," are demonstrating against mandates that require truckers entering Canada to be vaccinated against COVID-19.
In addition to snarling traffic in Ottawa, protesters in recent weeks have also blocked traffic at key U.S.-Canada border crossings. Economists project that one of those blockades at the Ambassador Bridge between Detroit and Windsor, Ontario, cost both countries economies nearly $1 billion.
All media who are attending the area, please keep a distance and stay out of police operations for your safety. Anyone found within areas undergoing enforcement may be subject to arrest. There will be a media availability later today at 474 Elgin Street. #ottnews— Ottawa Police (@OttawaPolice) February 18, 2022