After three weeks of disruption, the streets of downtown Ottawa, Canada’s bustling capital, is slowly going back to normal as police had at last dispersed the hundreds of truckers who occupied the roads in protest to the government’s vaccine mandate.
Blue fences were erected in the now empty streets outside Parliament Hill to control traffic while a few restaurants and cafes have started to open.
Small groups of police officers are seen roving around the vicinity, making sure that everything is in order.
Police were able to disperse the protesters during the weekend and set up about 100 checkpoints around the area to prevent them from returning.
Dozens of big rigs and other vehicles were also towed away.
As of Monday morning, police said at least 196 protesters have been arrested, 110 of whom were charged with various offences such as mischief and assault.
Tamara Lich, one of the protest organizers who were arrested earlier, was charged last week with counseling to commit mischief.
On Tuesday, a judge reportedly denied granting bail to Lich, who led an online fundraiser that raised millions of dollars for the protest.
Pat King, another top leader in the protest, was in court Tuesday for a bail hearing. No decision was made during the hearing, which will resume later this week.
Last week, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau invoked emergency powers to give his government sweeping authority to dismantle the protests, which started on January 28 as a “freedom convoy” to denounce the vaccine mandate imposed on truckers traversing the United States-Canada borders.
Legislators approved on Monday night the use of the Emergencies Act, with a 185-151 vote.
Officials said the temporary measure will remain in place until the middle of March.
“We will only do this for as long as we believe it is required. And so we are very hopeful that our law enforcement officials and other officials will be able to restore peace and the rule of law right across the country and end the state of emergency as soon as possible,” said Bill Blair, Canada’s Minister of Emergency Preparedness.