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Canadian police arrest at least 100 protesters in bid to break up Ottawa truck blockade

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Police moved in on the protest camp in Ottawa on Friday morning.

Police in Ottawa have begun arresting protesters from the so-called “freedom convoy” which has paralysed Canada’s capital for weeks.

Dozens of police moved in on the protest camp near Parliament Hill on Friday morning, arresting protesters and attempting to remove people from the vehicles that have blockaded the city since late January.

A police drone hovered overhead as the officers, some dressed in helmets and grey fatigues, moved in on the camp.

Ottawa police had made it clear on Thursday they were preparing to end the siege and remove more than 300 trucks and other vehicles.

The city’s interim police chief warned that “action is imminent,” and two prominent protest leaders were arrested on Thursday night.

Canada’s House of Commons canceled its work on Friday, with the speaker Anthony Rota warning lawmakers to “stay away from the downtown core until further notice” because of an expected police operation.

With temperatures hovering around -13C, protesters had started their day digging out their vehicles from a heavy overnight snowfall. A bitter wind blew through the protest camps as dozens of protesters huddled around fires and watched warily as the police numbers grew.

“Whatever the police do, they’ve lost all legitimacy anyways,” muttered one member of the convoy.

Some protesters promised to resist the coming crackdown, encouraging others to lock themselves inside their vehicles. “They’ll need the jaws of life if they want to get me out,” said one.

The capital represented the movement’s last stronghold after three weeks of demonstrations and blockades that shut down border crossings into the US and caused a political crisis for Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau.

The protests also have inspired similar convoys in France, New Zealand and the Netherlands.

More details soon …

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