Central organizer of Ottawa Covid protests denied bail

Supporters have referred to mandate protester Tamara Lich as a “political prisoner” after she was denied bail

One of the lead organizers of the Covid-19 protests in Ottawa, Canada was denied bail on Tuesday, with the judge asserting that releasing the activist would likely mean she would reoffend.

Tamara Lich, described as a key organizer behind the protests that hit the streets of Parliament Hill in recent weeks as well as shutting down border routes between the US and Canada, was arrested last week and charged with counseling to commit mischief. 

At the bail hearing, Justice Julie Bourgeois told Lich her detention was “necessary for the protection and safety of the public.” 

Lich, who helped organize crowdfunding campaigns for the Freedom Convoy protests, has found support from many who cheered on the Canadian protests, including author Jordan Peterson, who pointed to past support of Bourgeois as a political candidate by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau as a sign the judge should have recused herself.

“Even the appearance of impartiality no longer matters. The judge has a clear moral duty to recuse herself,” he claimed in a tweet

Others referred to Lich as a “political prisoner.”

Lich’s lawyer said she will appeal the bail decision, and is set to appear in court again on March 2. The judge also ordered Lich to have no contact with other organizers who have been arrested, like Christopher Barber, who was taken into police custody last week only hours before. 

Lich stated in a social media video the day before her arrest that she expected to be going to jail, calling it “inevitable” and saying she was “not afraid.”

In emotional video tonight, protest organizer Tamara Lich seems to accept she is going to jail soon. pic.twitter.com/j8L0NMoL2f

— Glen McGregor (@glen_mcgregor) February 17, 2022

The demonstrations in question, which began with the Freedom Convoy of truckers protesting Covid border mandates, were repeatedly condemned by Trudeau. The Canadian leader enacted the Emergencies Act, widening the scope of law enforcement to arrest and shut down the protests. 

The massive police operation led to over 190 arrests, with the majority of those detained facing charges. Over 100 vehicles that were part of the protests were also towed away and seized by police.  

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