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Canada protests: Police arrest two leaders of trucker movement : What you need to know

Demonstrators encircle police during a protest by truck drivers over pandemic health rules and the Trudeau government, outside the parliament of Canada in Ottawa on Thursday. (AFP)/courtesy: Hindustan Times

Police in Ottawa has detained two leaders of the trucker convoy in the Canadian capital as they move to break up the last stronghold of the protests against the nation's Covid rules and fenced off a large section of the city, restricting it to residents only.

Tamara Lich and Chris Barber, two of the main organizers of the Freedom Convoy 2022, were arrested on Thursday evening as police acted to end the siege of Ottawa before it entered another weekend.

However, officers were not yet moving in force on the remaining demonstrators on Thursday night - although interim Ottawa Police Chief Steve Bell warned earlier that if "they do not peacefully leave, we have plans".

The development comes days after Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau imposed an emergency on the country to deal with the agitation, describing it as a “threat to democracy”.

The Emergencies Act invoked by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Monday imposes bans on public assembly in some areas, among other measures.

The invocation of the Emergencies Act - for the first time since it was enacted in 1988 - is set to be debated in the House of Commons, with Trudeau asserting that “illegal blockades and occupations are not peaceful protests”.

Rights group Amnesty International opposed the emergency, and the Canadian Constitution Foundation, which is also launching a legal challenge, accused Trudeau of setting a “dangerous precedent”.

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