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Ottawa Police arrest 70 as they move to disperse Freedom Convoy from city

Some big rigs in downtown Ottawa are moving out voluntarily this afternoon as police continue to push into the epicentre of the Freedom Convoy protest.

Meanwhile, Ottawa Police say they have arrested more than 70 people and have towed at least 21 vehicles.

Some protesters are kneeling on the ground and are hugging each other yelling “Freedom.”

Ottawa Police tweeted earlier Friday that some protesters have put children between the line of officers and the protest site.  According to the police, those children will be taken to a safe place.  But Interim Chief Steve Bell says so far, they have had no reason to engage Children’s Aid to remove children from the crowd, “We implore all parents with kids there, get your kids out of there.”

As well another self-proclaimed leader of the Freedom Convoy has been arrested.

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A Facebook Live video on his personal page shows Pat King being arrested on four charges including mischief, counselling to obstruct a police officer, and counselling to disobey a court order.

Earlier in the protest, the organizers of the convoy disavowed King saying he was not authorized to speak on behalf of the group.

Unconfirmed reports suggest another organizer Daniel Bulford has turned himself into police.

On Thursday night, two organizers Tamara Lich and Chris Barber were arrested and are awaiting a bail hearing Friday. Another main organizer B.J. Dichter has not yet been detained.

Meanwhile, remaining organizers of the Freedom Convoy are calling on protesters to take a stand. In a press conference streamed on the convoy’s Facebook page, Friday afternoon Tom Reisler, a retired Canadian Military Officer told demonstrators to still come to Ottawa.  He said, “you will win if you come and show your support.”

He also said that many intersections are blocked but there are still ways into the city’s core.  Almost simultaneously, another organizer was telling protestors it’s time to leave.

In a tweet, co-organizer BJ Dichter asks the Ottawa police to allow the remaining trucks to leave peacefully.

The tweet was made after Dichter claimed to have witnessed police smashing the window of a protestor’s truck, drawing guns, and dragging the truck driver out.

 

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