TEHRAN: Iran’s High Council for Human Rights Secretary slammed Canadian police’s use of LRADs against protesters that can cause significant damage to auditory nerves. Canadian police on Sunday secured the downtown core of the capital with fencing as city workers cleaned up trash and snow plows cleared streets after two days of tense standoffs and 191 arrests ended a three-week occupation of Ottawa.
“Pressing ahead with its heavy-handed clampdown on protesters, the Canadian police are now wearing LRADs (long-range acoustic devices),” Vice-President of the Judiciary for International Affairs and Secretary-General of the Islamic Republic of Iran’s High Council for Human Rights Kazem Gharibabadi wrote in a tweet on Tuesday.
“LRADs can cause significant damage to auditory nerves. Another brazen move to stifle the voices of dissent! Hush! Canadian protesters don’t scream!” he added.
He reminded that individuals exposed to weaponized LRAD use at the 2009 G20 Summit experienced mild traumatic brain injuries, permanent hearing loss, tinnitus (ringing in the ears), eardrum perforation (holes), ear pain, dizziness, and disorientation.
He had also criticized Canadian police’s crackdown on thousands of protesters yesterday, saying, “Peaceful protesters in the so-called Land of the Free are shushed, and guess what? Nobody ever dares to talk about egregious human rights violations taking place on a daily basis in Canada. Well, the critics may have been shushed, too!”
Earlier, demonstrators had used hundreds of trucks and vehicles to block the city center since Jan. 28, prompting Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to invoke rarely used emergency powers. Seventy-six vehicles had been towed, police said.
Stragglers on Sunday packed up a logistics depot the so-called “Freedom Convoy” had set up in a parking lot near the highway to supply the protesters camped several kilometres away in front of parliament, as police handed out flyers warning them to leave soon or risk arrest and a fine.
“We were running support for the convoy and the people in the downtown core — food, fuel, basic necessities,” said Winton Marchant, a retired firefighter from Windsor, Ontario. “This was the base camp and we are cleaning up.”
The protesters initially wanted an end to cross-border COVID-19 vaccine mandates for truck drivers, but the blockade turned into a demonstration against Trudeau and the government.
On Saturday, police used pepper spray and stun grenades on the die-hard protesters who remained, clearing most of the area in front of parliament. Other demonstrators abandoned their positions in other parts of the downtown area during the night.
Those arrested so far face 389 different criminal charges, including obstructing police, disobeying a court order, assault, mischief, possessing a weapon and assaulting a police officer, Ottawa’s Interim Police Chief Steve Bell told reporters.
“We’re not done with this operation yet,” Bell said. Over the “next several days” police will determine “how we maintain a presence and make sure that nobody returns to occupy our streets again,” Bell said.
For the first time in weeks, there was only snow and silence downtown. The trucks blaring their horns were gone. One resident said he felt relief.
“We seem to have gotten over the hump,” Ottawa resident Tim Abray told the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. (CBC). But Abray, a communications consultant, said the political division will not go away so easily.