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Ottawa is holding its collective breath as police appear ready to finally end the so called Freedom Convoy protest that has paralyzed a good chunk of the capital city's downtown core for the past three weeks.

With significantly bolstered ranks municipal, provincial and national police officers have established a perimeter with about 100 checkpoints covering Ottawa's downtown to keep out anyone intent on joining the protest this weekend.

They have also arrested a number people, including two organizers of the protest against COVID-19 public health measures. Tamara Lich was in custody Thursday night charged with counselling to commit mischief, while Chris Barber was also facing that charge along with charges of obstruction and counselling to commit obstruction.

As snow blanketed the city Thursday police spent much of the day going around warning protesters, once again, to pack up and pullout now, or else risk arrest and other tough sanctions.

But many demonstrators still refused to budge. And city residents, who have grown increasingly frustrated with their lives being upended by the protest, are now waiting to see if police will back up their words with action to take back the streets.

Meanwhile, use of the federal emergencies law that the government invoked to give police the tools needed to end the occupation is now being debated in the House of Commons. It's expected to receive approval in a vote on Monday with the Liberals and NDP supporting the plan and the Conservatives and Bloc Québécois opposing it.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 18. 2022.

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