Canadian police have broken up a group that was allegedly ready to use violence to defend the Freedom Convoy near the US border.
The Royal Canadian Mounted Police in Alberta said it had arrested 11 people and seized 13 long guns, as well as handguns and a large quantity of ammunition.
Those arrested were reported to have a “willingness to use force against the police if any attempts were made to disrupt the blockade”, the force said in a statement.
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Why are truckers protesting?
It comes as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is expected to use special measures allowing him to tackle the truck protests, which have shut some border crossings and paralysed Ottawa.
Canadian media said Mr Trudeau had told politicians from the Liberal Party that he would use the 1988 Emergencies Act, which allows the government to override the provinces and authorise temporary measures to ensure security during national emergencies.
The act has only been used once in peacetime – by Mr Trudeau’s father, Pierre Trudeau, during the October Crisis in 1970.
The allows the government to send the military but local media in Canada reported that the prime minister does not plan to use the arm.
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The prime minister was due to speak to the 10 provincial premiers on Monday.
Cameron Ahmad, Mr Trudeau’s communication director, declined to comment on the report, but the prime minister address reporters later tonight.
Ontario to lift COVID restrictions
Also on Monday, Ontario – which has been the epicentre of the protests – announced it would accelerate dropping its COVID restrictions, becoming the latest province to scale back public health measures.
The protests over Canada’s COVID measures have paralysed the capital, halting trade and demonstrators have refused to leave, despite pleas from local, provincial and federal leaders.
On Monday, Ontario’s Premier Doug Ford said the Omicron wave in the province was fading.
“Given how well Ontario has done in the Omicron wave we are able to fast track our reopening plan,” he said.
The province will lift capacity limits on restaurants and businesses from Thursday and vaccina mandates will be dropped on 1 March, if infections continue to go down.
Face covering rules will be kept in place for the time being.
Blockade in Windsor ends
After six days, a blockade in one of North America’s busiest trade corridors in Windsor, Ontario, ended on Sunday.
Protests in Ottawa entered the third week, with several trucks parked outside the prime minister’s downtown office.
The demonstrations had also shut down smaller border crossings in Alberta and Manitoba last week, while the Pacific Highway border point in British Colombia over the weekend.
The blockade disrupted the supply chain for Detroit’s carmakers, forcing Ford, General Motors and Toyota to cut production.
Police in Ottawa, who say they do not have enough officers, have largely stood and watched protest, causing fury among residents and businesses.
Source : Sky News