On horseback in downtown Ottawa Friday, Canadian law enforcement was recorded forcing their way through a crowd of protesters as part of the government’s response to ending the 22-day protest against Canada’s Covid-19 restrictions.
Protesters fled as police riding horses pushed over several members of the ‘Freedom Convoy’ as part of a crowd-dispersal unit, according to The New York Times. The captured video appears to show the mounted officers knocking members of the convoy as they make their way through the thick crowd.
“They just fully trampled that lady,” a man on the video is heard saying.
WATCH: Close up of peaceful protestors in Ottawa protesting mandates being trampled by the mounted unit.
Yes, this is Canada in 2022. pic.twitter.com/I776GdTIwe
— K2🍁🚛 (@kiansimone44) February 18, 2022
Law enforcement acting under new powers given to them by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, after invoking the Emergencies Act, began clearing out downtown, according to The New York Times. The 1988 Emergencies Act replaced Canada’s War Measures Act after Justin Trudeau’s father, former Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau, used the war act against protesters in 1970, The New York Times reported.
The Ottawa Police Service announced they arrested 70 protesters and towed 21 vehicles during the round-up.
Protestors have put children between police operations and the unlawful protest site.
The children will be brought to a place of safety.
— Ottawa Police (@OttawaPolice) February 18, 2022
Ottawa police accused the demonstrators of using children as human shields to prevent arrests and escalating aggressive tactics against officers, which resulted in the increased crackdown. The police tweeted that children at the protest will be “brought to safety.”
“Protesters are assaulting officers, have attempted to remove officer’s weapons. All means of de-escalation our goal of returning Ottawa to its normalcy,” the Ottawa police tweeted.
Canada’s Civil Liberties Association (CCLA) announced Friday it filed an application in Canadian federal court for a judicial review and, if appropriate, the removal of the emergency orders enacted by Trudeau.
Noa Mendelsohn Aviv, Executive Director of the CCLA, said in a statement Thursday the organization did not believe the Canadian government met “the high burden necessary to invoke the Emergencies Act.”
“This morning I listened carefully to the Prime Minister and heard no new legal justifications for a national emergency and the enormous power the government is hoping to give to itself to bypass the typical democratic process,” said Mendelsohn. “This use of the Emergencies Act is unnecessary, unjustifiable and unconstitutional.”