Event organizer

Leading organizer of Canada’s COVID-19 protests secures bail

A Canadian judge has granted bail to one of the main organizers of the three-week convoy protest against coronavirus measures in Ottawa

OTTAWA, Ontario — A judge on Monday granted bail to one of the main organizers of the three-week convoy protest against coronavirus measures in Ottawa.

Tamara Lich was initially denied bail on February 22 after Ontario Court Judge Julie Bourgeois ruled her detention was necessary to protect the public.

On Monday, Superior Court Judge John M. Johnston found no basis for those arguments.

But he said he found several other legal errors in Bourgeois’ decision and added that the risk of releasing Lich could be addressed by new measures proposed by the defence. Lich must abide by several conditions, including having no contact with other convoy organizers and obeying an order to leave Ottawa within 24 hours.

In addition to agreeing to these terms, Lich had to post bond of 25,000 Canadian dollars ($20,000).

Lich was a key organizer of the protest that paralyzed the streets around Parliament Hill for more than three weeks. The truckers’ protest also grew until a handful of border crossings between Canada and the United States were closed. They have since ended.

Lich was arrested last month and charged with counseling to commit mischief. At a bail hearing on Saturday, she promised to give up defending the protest and return to Alberta.

Ottawa protesters who have sworn never to give up are driven away by police in riot gear in what was the largest police operation in Canadian history.

The so-called Freedom Convoy shook Canada’s reputation for civility, inspired convoys in France, New Zealand and the Netherlands, and disrupted trade, causing economic damage on both sides of the border. Hundreds of trucks eventually filled the streets around Parliament, a demonstration that was part protest and part carnival.

For nearly a week, the busiest border crossing between the United States and Canada, the Ambassador Bridge between Windsor, Ontario, and Detroit, was blocked. The crossing sees over 25% of the trade between the two countries.

Another Canadian judge denied bail to another prominent organizer last month. Pat King remains in jail.