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Police end ban on truck drivers in Canada

Police end ban on truck drivers in Canada

The last truck was towed Sunday (20) in the Canadian capital, amid calm for the first time in three weeks after a police operation ended a long protest against anti-coronavirus measures.

Workers cleaned the snow-covered streets of downtown Ottawa, where riot police clashed with protesters for two days.

The last protesters stayed up late Saturday night, singing protest anthems from the 1980s and setting off fireworks in front of a four-meter-high security fence hastily erected around Parliament.

But the protest turned into a street party that subsided when severe frost swept the city.

On Sunday morning, police guarded several checkpoints restricting access to a large area of ​​downtown Ottawa, while a powerful detachment of security forces occupied the terrain invaded by truck drivers.

Ottawa police have issued a reminder to ban traffic in that perimeter, with the exception of local residents and workers.

Two people were arrested in the morning, bringing the number of detainees to 191.

According to officials, so far 57 vehicles have been withdrawn from the city, which has been paralyzed since hundreds of trucks, vans and other vehicles stopped there on Jan. 29.

For the first time in weeks, Ottawa residents did not wake up in panic from the constant honking, which has become a hallmark of the protests.

– Fighting continues – After they were expelled, many protesters told AFP they would continue to fight for their cause.

Despite the easing of health measures in Canada as the number of Covid-19 cases has fallen, protesters vowed to press for the complete lifting of restrictions, which are among the most stringent in the world.

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Meanwhile, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government faces a lawsuit from the ACLU and criticism from political opponents for its decision to invoke emergency powers that are rarely used to quell protests.

Polls show Canadians, who were once quite sympathetic to the trucker-led movement, now reject it.

The so-called “freedom train” began a month ago against compulsory vaccination to cross the border with the United States. As the days passed, it gained followers and inspired similar protests in other countries.

At least three protest leaders were arrested and C$32 million in donations and bank accounts linked to the movement were frozen.