OTTAWA, ONTARIO (AP) – Hundreds of police in riot gear swept through Canada’s capital, retaking control of the streets around the Parliament buildings and appearing to end the siege of Ottawa after three weeks of protests.
Protesters, angry over the country’s COVID-19 restrictions and with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, retreated from the largest police operation in the country’s history, with police arresting or driving out demonstrators and towing away their trucks.
In Ottawa, Interim Police Chief Steve Bell said that some smaller protests continued but “this unlawful occupation is over. We will continue with our mission until it is complete.”
While some protesters vowed to stay on Ottawa’s streets, one organiser told reporters they had “decided to peacefully withdraw”.
“We will simply regroup as a grassroots movement,” Tom Marazzo said at a press conference.
Police had been brought in from across the country to help in the clearance operation,
Bell said, adding that 170 people were arrested on Friday and Saturday and multiple investigations had been launched because of weapons seizures.
“We’re not going anywhere until you have your streets back,” he said at a press conference, vowing to go after protesters who don’t disperse with “financial sanctions and criminal charges”.