Connect with us

Business

Canada police tow trucks, step up arrests to clear Ottawa protests By Reuters

Published

on

4/4

© Reuters. A man walks with a Canada flag in front of a truck as protests against coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine mandates continue, along Wellington street near the Parliament of Canada, in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, February 17, 2022. REUTERS/Carlos Osorio

2/4

By Steve Scherer and David Ljunggren

OTTAWA (Reuters) -Police began towing trucks from central Ottawa on Friday and stepped up arrests of protesters in a bid to end a trucker-led movement that has blockaded Canada’s capital for three weeks and embarrassed Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government.

The protesters have lined up heavy trucks outside parliament and Trudeau’s office, and Ottawa police, fearing escalation or violence, had sought to disperse them with fines and threats of possible arrest.

But with dozens of trucks still occupying the downtown, police on Thursday arrested two of the movement’s leaders and charged them with mischief. By Friday, after a night of heavy snow, officers had set up 100 road blocks near the protest site to deny people access and starve it of new supplies, like food and fuel.

“You must leave. You must cease further unlawful activity and immediately remove your vehicle and/or property from all unlawful protest sites. Anyone within the unlawful protest site may be arrested,” Ottawa Police wrote on Twitter (NYSE:).

Police said they had arrested 15 protesters and towed four vehicles, including what a Reuters photographer said was an 18-wheeler truck. Hundreds of police lined up in front of protesters near parliament, slowly advancing towards them and making arrests.

Some protesters kneeled in front of police with their arms linked. Others pushed back at police as they advanced, with the occasional scuffle breaking out. One man yelled “freedom” as police arrested him and led him away.

The protesters initially wanted an end to cross-border COVID-19 vaccine mandates for truck drivers but the blockade gradually turned into an anti-government and anti-Trudeau demonstration. They have vowed to remain peaceful but say they will stand their ground until police physically remove them.

“If they want to arrest me, I’ll put my hands out, and they can twist-tie me up like everybody else here. We’re going peaceful,” said Mark, a protester from Nova Scotia who would not give his last name. Nearby, protesters inside a tent were frying eggs on a portable stove, with no apparent plans to leave.

Police, who have deployed hundreds of officers to central Ottawa, say it will take days to clear the protests. At least one military-style armored vehicle was seen in downtown Ottawa. While most of the officers are not armed, some carried weapons including at least one equipped with a gun.

Police said protesters had “put children between police operations and the unlawful protest site,” adding: “The children will be brought to a place of safety.” Reuters did not witness any protesters putting children near police sites.

“STAY AWAY”

Trudeau on Monday invoked emergency powers to give his government wider authority to stop the protests. Legislators had been due to debate those temporary powers on Friday but the House of Commons suspended its session, citing police activity.

“If you are not in the House of Commons precinct, stay away from the downtown core until further notice,” a House of Commons notice said.

Trudeau sought the special powers after protesters shut down U.S. border crossings including Ontario’s Ambassador Bridge to Detroit, a choke point for the region’s automakers. The shutdown of the bridge, which was cleared on Sunday, had damaged both countries’ economies and posed a major crisis for Trudeau.

As police accelerated work to clear the protesters’ last stronghold, at least a dozen tow trucks were seen preparing to remove trucks and other protest vehicles still parked downtown.

Many of the tow trucks had all identification marks removed. Before Trudeau invoked the Emergencies Act, police had said some tow truck drivers were afraid to cooperate with authorities, fearing they might be the target of retaliation.

The Canadian Broadcasting Corp., citing security sources, said authorities had set up a number of temporary detention centers around the city, presumably to hold detained protesters.

Source link

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Business

Teladoc Tumbled 38% After Big First-Quarter Loss. Is It Just a Pandemic Play?

Published

on

Text size

Source link

Continue Reading

Business

After pandemic drop, Canada’s detention of immigrants rises again By Reuters

Published

on


© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Two closed Canadian border checkpoints are seen after it was announced that the border would close to “non-essential traffic” to combat the spread of novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) at the U.S.-Canada border crossing at the Thousand Isla

By Anna Mehler Paperny

TORONTO (Reuters) – Canada is locking up more people in immigration detention without charge after the numbers fell during the pandemic, government data obtained by Reuters shows.

Authorities cite an overall rise in foreign travelers amid easing restrictions but lawyers say their detained clients came to Canada years ago.

Canada held 206 people in immigration detention as of March 1, 2022 – a 28% increase compared with March 1 of the previous year. Immigration detainees have not been charged with crimes in Canada and 68% of detainees as of March 1 were locked up because Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) fears they are “unlikely to appear” at an immigration hearing, according to the data.

The rise puts Canada at odds with Amnesty International and other human rights groups that have urged Ottawa to end its use of indefinite immigration detention, noting CBSA has used factors such as a person’s mental illness as reason to detain them.

A CBSA spokesperson told Reuters that “when the number of entries (to Canada) goes up, an increase in detention is to be expected.” CBSA has said in the past it uses detention as a last resort.

A lawyer told Reuters her detained clients have been in Canada for years.

In the United Kingdom, too, immigration detention levels rose last year after dropping earlier in the pandemic, according to government statistics. Unlike Canada, the United States and Australia, European Union member states have limits on immigration detention and those limits cannot exceed six months.

The rise in detentions puts people at risk of contracting COVID-19 in harsh congregate settings, refugee lawyers say.

Julia Sande, Human Rights Law and Policy Campaigner with Amnesty, called the increase in detentions “disappointing but not surprising,” although she was reluctant to draw conclusions from limited data.

The number of immigration detainees in Canada dropped early in the pandemic, from a daily average of 301 in the fourth quarter (January through March) of 2019-20 to 126 in the first quarter (April through June) of 2020-21.

FEW NO-SHOWS AS DETENTIONS DROPPED

Detaining fewer people did not result in a significant increase in no-shows at immigration hearings – the most common reason for detention, according to Immigration and Refugee Board data.

The average number of no-shows as a percentage of admissibility hearings was about 5.5% in 2021, according to that data, compared to about 5.9% in 2019.

No-shows rose as high as 16% in October 2020, but a spokesperson for the Immigration and Refugee Board said this was due to people not receiving notifications when their hearings resumed after a pause in the pandemic.

Refugee lawyer Andrew Brouwer said the decline in detention earlier in the pandemic shows Canada does not need to lock up as many non-citizens.

“We didn’t see a bunch of no-shows. We didn’t see the sky fall … It for sure shows that the system can operate without throwing people in jail,” Brouwer said.

He added that detainees face harsh pandemic conditions in provincial jails – including extended lockdowns, sometimes with three people in a cell for 23 hours a day.

Refugee lawyer Swathi Sekhar said CBSA officials and the Immigration and Refugee Board members reviewing detentions took the risk of COVID-19 into account when deciding whether someone should be detained earlier in the pandemic but are doing so less now.

“Their position is that COVID is not a factor that should weigh in favor of release,” she said.

“We also see very, very perverse findings … [decision-makers] outright saying that individuals are going to be safer in jail.”

The Immigration and Refugee Board did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment.

Source link

Continue Reading

Business

Nasdaq futures rise as market attempts comeback from April sell-off, Meta shares soar

Published

on

Stock futures rose in overnight trading as the market shook off the April sell-off and investors reacted positively to earnings from Meta Platforms.

Futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average added 70 points or 0.2%. S&P 500 futures gained 0.7% and Nasdaq 100 futures jumped 1.2%.

The moves came as shares of Meta surged more than 18% after hours following a beat on earnings but a miss on revenue, a sign that investors may see signs of relief in the beaten-up tech sector. Shares were down 48% on the year heading into the results.

Meanwhile, shares of Qualcomm gained 5.6% in extended trading on the back of strong earnings while PayPal rose 5% despite issuing weak guidance for the second quarter.

“I think a lot of people want to believe that earnings are going to pull us out of this, but earnings are not what got us into this,” SoFi’s Liz Young told CNBC’s “Closing Bell: Overtime” on Wednesday. “… But the reality is there are so many macro headwinds still in front of us in the next 60 days that the market is just hard to impress.”

The after-hour activity followed a volatile regular trading session that saw the Nasdaq Composite stoop to its lowest level in 2022, as stocks looked to bounce back from a tech-led April sell-off. The index is down more than 12% since the start of April.

In Wednesday’s regular trading, the tech-heavy Nasdaq ended at 12,488.93, after rising to 1.7% at session highs. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 61.75 points, or 0.2%, to 33,301.93 propped up by gains from Visa and Microsoft, while the S&P 500 added 0.2% to 4,183.96.

Investors await big tech earnings on Thursday from Apple, Amazon and Twitter, along with results from Robinhood. Jobless claims are also due out Thursday.

Source link

Continue Reading

Trending