Massive protests broke out across Canada on Saturday following Ottawa’s brutal crackdown on Freedom Convoy demonstrators. Thousands of Canadians took to the streets in Calgary, Toronto, Quebec and dozens of smaller municipalities immediately following the crackdown, with some demonstrations continuing through Sunday.
Calgary is on fyre pic.twitter.com/LMzyCRHHf2
— Denver Hodge Fund (@DerAchsenZeit) February 19, 2022
A massive protest in Toronto this weekend as the anti-mandate movement evolves into the anti-martial law movement in Canada. pic.twitter.com/dRwrwgHVPr
— Aaron Ginn (@aginnt) February 20, 2022
Trucks line the streets of Quebec City to stand in solidarity with the Freedom Convoy protesters in Ottawa and to protest restrictions. pic.twitter.com/nRyQ79YSgM
— Marie Oakes (@TheMarieOakes) February 20, 2022
Canada’s latest round of protests began after over 100 peaceful protesters were arrested in Ottawa over the weekend. Hundreds of riot police backed by snipers and armored vehicles methodically advanced on the crowd on Friday morning, making dozens of arrests in the process. Armed tactical units smashed truck windows and raided mobile homes while trucks without identifiers towed rigs away.
The crackdown was marked by extreme brutality from Canadian police officers, with numerous instances of incapacitated protesters being ruthlessly beaten. In one video, riot police can be seen kneeing a man in the ribs who had already been subdued. In another, police officers can be seen throwing a handcuffed man on the ground before kneeing him repeatedly.
In an incident that sparked widespread outrage, two protesters were trampled by mounted Ottawa police units. “This is a peaceful protest,” one of the trampled protesters can be heard saying just seconds before impact. The woman, who is disabled and uses a mobility scooter to get around, miraculously escaped with minor injuries.
Just 2 knees to flatten your ribs. This is a peaceful protestor in Ottawa being brutally assaulted by police.pic.twitter.com/TVML3aVrt4
— K2 (@kiansimone44) February 19, 2022
Instances of police brutality prompted thousands of Canadians to ratchet up the level of demonstrations across the country. In addition to the removal of mandates, Canada’s protests have evolved to oppose Prime Minister Justin Trudeau emergency declaration. Trudeau invoked Canada’s Emergencies Act for the first time in the nation’s history last week, giving his government extraordinary powers for a “time-limited duration.
Under the emergency directives, the Canadian government has expanded its “terrorist financing” laws to include crowdfunding, effectively cutting off the protest movement’s funding. Multiple protesters have subsequently had their assets seized and bank accounts frozen. Key protest leaders were also arrested and are now facing charges that could land them in prison for multiple years.
Massive crowds out in Calgary today to support #FreedomConvoy2022 following a brutal crackdown on peaceful protestors in Canada’s capital.
Clips posted to social media show protestors swarming the city’s downtown. pic.twitter.com/JN1E3rGXFN
— Cosmin Dzsurdzsa (@cosminDZS) February 19, 2022