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The latest on protests against COVID-19 measures in Ottawa and beyond

The latest developments on ongoing protests against COVID-19 restrictions and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's government, both in Ottawa and various cities across Canada. All times eastern: 5:30 p.m.
A woman crosses the street in front of vehicles parked as part of the trucker protest, Tuesday, Feb. 8, 2022 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

The latest developments on ongoing protests against COVID-19 restrictions and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's government, both in Ottawa and various cities across Canada. All times eastern:

5:30 p.m.

The Ontario government says it has successfully petitioned a court to freeze access to millions of dollars in donations to the protest convoy that were raised through online platform GiveSendGo.

A spokeswoman for Premier Doug Ford says Ontario's attorney general brought the application to the Superior Court of Justice and an order binding "any and all parties with possession or control over these donations" was issued today.

More than US$8.2 million has been raised for the protest on the platform, which describes itself as a Christian fundraising site.

Organizers set up a campaign on GiveSendGo after GoFundMe shut down a fundraiser for the protest last week, saying the demonstration had turned into an "occupation."


4:15 p.m.

Ottawa's police Chief Peter Sloly says the search for tow trucks to remove big rigs from the downtown core has now gone international.

Ottawa has been unable to convince local companies to go into the demonstration and haul away the large trucks clogging city streets.

Sloly says one company was threatened online, and police are pursing a criminal investigation.

Police are looking across the country and south of the border for companies willing to do the work.


4:15 p.m.

Ottawa police Chief Peter Sloly says the key to driving anti-vaccine mandate protesters out of the capital to get more police reinforcements.

He says a number of public order units are expected to join Ottawa's force from the greater Toronto and Hamilton area.

The Ontario Provincial Police are triaging resources in the city and across the province where other demonstrations are taking place, such as the Ambassador Bridge crossing in Windsor, Ont.

Sloly expects more announcements about reinforcements joining Ottawa's officers in the next 24 to 48 hours.


4 p.m.

An Ontario Superior Court justice has delayed hearing an application for an injunction that would stop protesters blocking Canada-bound traffic at the Ambassador Bridge border crossing in Windsor.

Chief Justice Geoffrey Morawetz says he understands that the matter is urgent, but the application is "serious in nature" and the defendants should be given the chance to make their case.

He also granted the City of Windsor intervener status in the injunction application, which was brought by the Automotive Parts Manufacturers' Association.

Morawetz says he will hear submissions tomorrow at noon.


3:25 p.m.

Ottawa police say they have made three more arrests since Tuesday in connection with the anti-vaccine mandate demonstrations downtown.

That brings the total number of arrests to 25 since the protests began nearly two weeks ago.

The charges include transportation of fuel, public mischief and menacing, among others.

An investigation is also underway after demonstrators refused to stop for an officer and hit a police cruiser near downtown.

No one was injured.

Police say they will continue to try to reduce the footprint of the protesters' occupation of downtown Ottawa.


2:10 p.m.

The mayor of Windsor, Ont., says he'll seek an injunction to end a protest blocking Canada-bound traffic at the nation's busiest land border crossing.

Drew Dilkens says he hopes city officials will be in front of a judge before the end of the day.

He says the situation at the Ambassador Bridge is an occupation and it must end.

Dilkens also says anyone who may wish to join the protest is not welcome in his city.


1:20 p.m.

A high school in southeast Manitoba is in "hold and secure" mode due to a protest against COVID-19 restrictions outside.

Steinbach Regional Secondary School says students will remain in classes with their teachers, while exterior doors are locked except for students and staff.

The local school division says RCMP are on scene at the school.


1:15 p.m.

Ottawa's public school board says it has reached out to local police about the potential for protesters to drive past schools today.

Protesters mused online about driving past schools after snarling traffic around the national capital's airport earlier today.

The Ottawa-Carleton District School Board is calling the idea unacceptable, adding that the safety of students and staff shouldn't be threatened.

So far, the board says there are no reports of concerning activity.

The board's statement on Twitter says staff will make safety a top priority.

It adds that students and staff will shelter in place if there is reason for concern about school safety.


12:20 p.m.

A protest against COVID-19 restrictions has blocked the main border crossing between Manitoba and the United States.

David Carlson, reeve of the Emerson-Franklin rural municipality, says a few dozen rigs, pickups and other vehicles are not allowing anything through except livestock.

He says the RCMP have been trying to talk to the protesters, but it appears to be a loosely organized protest with no official spokesperson.

Ron Koslowsky, with the Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters association, is calling for an end to the blockade and says people should not be allowed to hold the economy to ransom.


12:15 p.m.

A homeless shelter in downtown Ottawa says it has received about $750,000 in donations since it said its staff were harassed just after the so-called Freedom Convoy rolled into the national capital nearly two weeks ago.

The Shepherds of Good Hope had previously said there was an incident at the shelter blocks away from Parliament Hill during the first weekend of the protest.

The shelter said protesters came to the soup kitchen looking for meals, which staff provided, among other incidents.

In a video posted to Twitter today, Deirdre Freiheit, the shelter's president and CEO, says what started as a few people donating to make up for some meals has gone far beyond that.

She says more than 13,000 people have given donations since Jan. 30.

She says the unanticipated support can help the shelter accelerate its work to build supportive housing to help lift 105 people out of homelessness.

The remaining funds will help cover costs to serve more than 1,000 meals a day to those in need.


11:20 a.m.

Michigan's governor is calling on Canadian authorities to end the protests at two busy border crossings

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer says the blockade at the Ambassador Bridge connecting Windsor and Detroit, and the Blue Water Bridge in Sarnia, Ont. is threatening her state's economy.

She says local, provincial and federal governments in Canada must de-escalate what she calls an economic blockade.

Whitmer is calling on Canadian authorities to "take all necessary and appropriate steps" to immediately reopen all lanes of traffic.


10:30 a.m.

Interim Conservative leader Candice Bergen is calling on protesters to take down the blockades of border crossings.

Speaking in the House of Commons, Bergen says the time has come for them to stop the disruptive action that is causing economic harm.

She says farmers, manufacturers, small businesses and families are suffering because of the border blockades.

Bergen adds that she doesn't believe that is what the protesters want to do.

Bergen also says the protesters' anti-vaccine-mandate message has been heard and is pledging her party's support to that end.

Bergen made the comments today at the start of debate on a Conservative motion calling on the government for a plan for ending COVID-19 restrictions.


10 a.m.

Ottawa police say they are aware of a concerted effort to flood 911 and the non-emergency police line with calls.

Police say on Twitter the effort to clog up the line endangers lives and is "completely unacceptable," in addition to being against the law.

Police say they track calls and will charge anyone deliberately interfering with emergencies.


9:20 a.m.

Manitoba RCMP say a protest involving a large number of vehicles and farm equipment is blocking the province's main border crossing to the United States.

They say no traffic is getting through in either direction at the Emerson crossing, about 100 kilometres south of Winnipeg, and the port of entry is shut down.


9:20 a.m.

Ottawa police say nearly two dozen trucks have left the city.

Police say a dozen trucks left a parking lot outside the city's core after negotiations with protesters who have used the area as a staging and logistics ground.

Police say 10 more trucks have also left downtown, and another vehicle was towed for obstructing traffic.

They are also repeating their request that remaining protesters leave the city after almost two weeks of being encamped in the national capital.

While some trucks that are part of the so-called Freedom Convoy have left the city, another group of vehicles is causing traffic disruptions around the city's airport.

A notice from the city says the traffic disruptions are part of a demonstration.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 10, 2022.

The Canadian Press

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