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Criminal trial of Freedom Convoy organizer Pat King begins today

The criminal trial of Pat King, one of the most prominent figures associated with the 2022 Freedom Convoy protest in Ottawa, is expected to begin Monday.

King was part of the original group of organizers that brought thousands of big-rig trucks and other vehicles to Ottawa in January of that year to protest COVID-19 public health measures.

They also spoke out against Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his Liberal government.

For weeks, the smell of diesel fumes suffused the city’s downtown core as massive crowds chanted “freedom” to a raucous chorus of air horns at all hours of the day and night.

Protesters blocked intersections around Parliament Hill and the surrounding area, and set up encampments complete with food tents and open fires.

Local politicians described the state of downtown Ottawa during the demonstration as a lawless occupation of the capital, as several businesses closed and residents described feeling uneasy leaving their homes.

King was outspoken throughout the demonstration, and documented his experience with frequent livestreams on social media. Many of those videos are expected to be entered as evidence during his criminal trial.

He is charged with mischief, counselling others to commit mischief, disobeying a court order and obstructing police for his role in the demonstration, which ultimately ended in a massive police operation.

The federal government also invoked the Emergencies Act in an effort to force protesters off the streets.

Police arrested King on Feb. 18, the same day they began their operation to remove protesters from the area around the parliamentary precinct.

He was held in jail for five months after his arrest, before he was eventually granted bail and returned to Alberta.

The Ontario Superior Court has set aside three weeks to hear evidence and arguments in the case.

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