Freedom Convoy Leader Stands Firm Amid Trudeau Emergency Act Threats

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Tamara Lich, a central figure in the “Freedom Convoy” movement, vowed that demonstrators maintaining a stance in downtown Ottawa would remain “peaceful yet resolute”, amid reports suggesting Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is prepared to trigger the Emergencies Act to quell the protests, as per what transpired in a courtroom on Tuesday.

“We will maintain our stance irrespective of your actions,” declared Lich, who has been a key orchestrator of these protests on February 14, 2022, during a press gathering.

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Tuesday’s courtroom viewing in Ottawa included a screening of the scenario in question. This is part of the Crown’s attempt to validate the control and influence Lich, along with her co-organizer, Chris Barber, wielded on a three-week-long protest in Ottawa that culminated in an extensive law enforcement operation.

The court’s first viewing of material that appears to depict Lich spurring on protesters to journey to Ottawa and stay put despite police orders to disperse marked the sixth day of the trial.

Both Lich and Barber are confronting charges related to mischief, persuading others to engage in mischief, intimidation, and hindrance of police relating to their involvement in the “Freedom Convoy”. This convoy occupied downtown Ottawa last winter in opposition to COVID-19 restrictions and Liberals.

The videos screened in court Tuesday are not officially being considered as evidence in the trial presided over by a sole judge. Defence lawyers for Lich and Barber are preparing to dispute the admissibility of social media content sourced from the “Freedom Convoy 2022” Facebook page. The defence has raised multiple arguments relating to the admissibility of evidence, a move that has made the process lengthier.

The digital content examined in court reveals that Lich announced early on in the protest that participants wouldn’t retreat until the government nullifies COVID-19 vaccine mandates. An influx of thousands of trucks into Ottawa began on January 28, 2022, causing obstruction in areas surrounding Parliament Hill and adjacent residential districts.

“Our exit will rely on the prime minister’s adherence to what is right,” Lich communicated at a recorded press briefing on February 3, 2022.

Roughly two weeks subsequent to this, Lich circulated a video detailing her views on the protest while hinting at expectations of her own arrest, her fundamental message, however, remaining largely unchanged.

“I surmise this is inevitable now, so I’ll likely be heading somewhere tomorrow where I’m guaranteed three square meals daily, and that’s alright with me,” a tearful Lich shared during a Facebook page live-stream on February 16, 2022, a couple of days post the Emergencies Act’s invocation.

The video replay in court brought her to tears yet again.

“If you can make it to Ottawa and stand in solidarity with us, that’d be terrific. Otherwise, your prayers would be appreciated,” were Lich’s words in the video.

Signing off, she asserted, “I am unafraid, and we’re going to maintain our stance. Thank you. I love you all.”

Further footage from the concluding days of the protest depicted Lich reiterating “hold the line”. She echoed the same sentiment on February 17, upon being queried about any potential message to supporters in case of her arrest.

She faced her arrest later that day, just prior to a police operation scheduled to disperse protesters off the streets. As she was being handcuffed, a supporter shouted from the sidelines to “hold the line”, to which she responded in kind before being escorted to a nearby police vehicle.

Crown prosecutor Tim Radcliffe diligently took the courtroom through a comprehensive 212 pages of posts and videos retrieved from the ‘Freedom Convoy 2022’ Facebook page, which included periodic updates given by convoy organizers to their supporters.

Defence attorneys are insisting on obtaining more details about how the Crown intends to deploy these materials to substantiate their case prior to them being considered by the judge.

In one such video, Lich voiced her support for barricades erected at the Ambassador Bridge, the international border crossing located between Windsor, Ontario, and Detroit, Michigan.

Though she wished they could take credit for the roadblocks, Lich confessed they couldn’t in a video published on the group’s Facebook page on February 14.

“We acknowledge that Canadians countrywide feel inspired by the staunch determination of truckers in Ottawa,” she stated.