Convoy protest organizers Tamara Lich, Chris Barber, Pat King arrested in Ottawa

Tamara Lich, Chris Barber and Pat King, key organizers of the so-called Freedom Convoy that has occupied Ottawa streets for three weeks, were arrested in Ottawa and charged.

All three said protesters will stay in the city until COVID-19 mandates are lifted

A man led toward a police vehicle by two officers.
Chris Barber, one of the organizers of the so-called Freedom Convoy, is shown being arrested by Ottawa police officers in downtown Ottawa on Thursday. (Kirk Hill/Facebook)

Three key organizers of the so-called Freedom Convoy, Tamara Lich, Chris Barber and Pat King, have been arrested in Ottawa.

Ottawa police took Lich and Barber into custody in separate arrests Thursday and both remained in police custody on Friday, which is when King was arrested as part of a larger police presence in downtown Ottawa.

Lich and Barber are each charged with counselling to commit mischief. Barber is also charged with counselling to disobey a court order and counselling to obstruct police.

The two have been described as key leaders of the occupation in Ottawa, which has now hit the three-week mark. Their arrests were among several made Thursday and Friday. Barber was seen a few blocks from Parliament Hill in handcuffs between two police officers.

Lich and Barber are scheduled to make their first court appearances in Ottawa on Friday.

King, who is from Alberta, is also expected to face criminal charges.

WATCH | Police make several arrests as they secure downtown Ottawa: 

Some protesters arrested as police secure downtown Ottawa

2 years ago
Duration 3:31
Police in Ottawa have set up nearly 100 checkpoints to turn a large part of downtown into a secured zone as part of a long-anticipated plan to remove protesters, and several arrests have already been made.

Lich confirmed to The Canadian Press earlier Thursday that she was there when Barber, a trucker from Saskatchewan, was arrested and led away.

Lich said she was resigned to the fact that she was going to jail, adding her personal bank account had been frozen.

WATCH | Protest organizer Tamara Lich speaks with reporters before her arrest:

Protest organizer Tamara Lich speaks with reporters before her arrest

2 years ago
Duration 1:22
Convoy organizer Tamara Lich spoke with reporters just before 7 p.m. Thursday evening at Metcalfe and Wellington Streets in Ottawa.

They are two of the three protest organizers named in a proposed class-action lawsuit filed with the Ontario Superior Court of Justice by lawyer Paul Champ on behalf of his client, 21-year-old public servant Zexi Li.

The suit also names fellow convoy organizer Benjamin Dichter.

Earlier this month, Barber responded to criticism that the protest was negatively affecting Ottawa residents by saying organizers had "empathy" for local residents.

"We understand your frustration and genuinely wish there was another way for us to get our message across, but the responsibility for your inconvenience lies squarely on the shoulders of politicians who have [preferred] to vilify and call us names rather than engage in respectful, serious dialogue," he said at the time.

WATCH | Convoy protest organizer arrested in Ottawa: 

With files from The Canadian Press