Canadian authorities on Sunday froze the finances associated with certain individuals and companies believed to be involved in the ongoing protests in Ottawa, according to Mike Duheme, Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) deputy commissioner of federal policing.
The RCMP froze 206 financial products, including bank and corporate accounts; disclosed the information of 56 entities associated with vehicles, individuals and companies; shared 253 bitcoin addresses with virtual currency exchangers; and froze a payment processing account valued at $3.8 million, Duheme said at a news conference.
“We continue to work at collecting relevant information on persons, vehicles and companies and remain in daily communication with the financial institution to assist them,” Duheme said.
As a result of the protest, investigators are also looking into two police-involved incidents Saturday at the protests in Ottawa, Ontario authorities said Sunday.
“The province’s Special Investigations Unit is investigating two police-involved incidents that occurred at the demonstrations in Ottawa yesterday and is urging anyone who has information, including video, to come forward,” Ontario’s SIU said.
Preliminary information indicates around 5:14 p.m. Saturday, “there was an interaction between a Toronto Police Service officer on a horse and a 49-year-old woman on Rideau Street and Mackenzie Avenue. The woman has a reported serious injury,” the SIU said.
No additional information was released on the circumstances of the injury.
Separately, “At approximately 7:18 p.m. Vancouver Police Department officers discharged Anti-Riot Weapon Enfields (less-lethal firearms) at individuals in the area of Sparks Street and Bank Street. No injuries have been reported at this time,” the agency said Sunday. “The SIU asks anyone who may have been struck by a projectile to contact the unit.”
By Sunday morning, Ottawa police said they had arrested at least 191 people.
Tensions escalated Saturday when police used pepper spray to disperse crowds. Protesters outside Wellington Street in front of Parliament were arrested, Ottawa Interim Police Chief Steve Bell said during a news conference.
“We have been here for three weeks. I have been at this podium for the last 5 days, imploring people to leave, asking them to get out of our streets,” Bell said.
“This occupation is over, we have advised them that if they peacefully leave, they may go home,” he said. “We also indicated that we would escalate and forcibly remove people from the streets if they did not comply.”
Small businesses will get help
Stuck in the middle of the standoff are the businesses in downtown Ottawa that have shut their doors due to protests.
“For the past three weeks, many businesses in the downtown core have been unable to operate safely due to serious concerns caused by the blockades, which has resulted in significant financial losses for local businesses,” the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario said in a statement Saturday.
Federal officials said small businesses can apply for up to $10,000 that they wouldn’t have to pay back, the agency said.
The funds, totaling up to $20 million, may only be used for non-deferrable operational costs not covered by other federal programs.
Police say some protesters had grenades
The end of the strife downtown may be nearing as authorities begin to show their presence on foot and on horseback. Along with mounting arrests, about 60 vehicles have towed over the weekend, police said.
Some of those arrests included protesters who allegedly had smoke grenades and fireworks and were wearing body armor, police said.
Trudeau’s office has also lamented the costs of police forces and supply chain disruptions caused by the protests.
How the protests have evolved
And despite threats of legal consequences, many have showed no signs of backing down.
Two of the protests’ organizers were arrested and charged this week, authorities said.
Tamara Lich, 49, faces a counseling to commit the offense of mischief charge.
Christopher John Barber, 46, was charged with counseling to commit the offense of mischief, counseling to commit the offense of disobeying a court order, and counseling to commit the offense of obstructing police.
Barber’s attorney, Diane Magas, said her client contested a bail hearing Friday and was released on conditions and a bond.
CNN’s Artemis Moshtaghian, Paula Newton, Chuck Johnson, Artemis Moshtaghian. Paradise Afshar, Raja Razek, Chris Boyette, Laura Studley and Jenn Selva contributed to this report.