Rep. Yvette Herrell (R-N.M.) said she is introducing a bill that would grant temporary asylum to individuals involved in the Canadian trucker protests.
“Just as we provide asylum for political prisoners, we should do the same for truckers who have been subjected to violence, had their property confiscated, and their bank accounts frozen by a government that is quickly becoming the embarrassment of the free world,” Herrell said in a statement on Twitter on Saturday.
Close to 200 protesters have been arrested in Ottawa since Feb. 18, according to police. However, there have been concerns, especially from Canada’s Conservative Party, that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government is flirting with tyranny in how the protests are being dealt with.
“I am introducing legislation that would temporarily grant asylum to innocent Canadian protesters who are being persecuted by their own government. We cannot be silent as our neighbors to the north are treated so badly,” Herrell added.
Last week, Trudeau became the first Canadian prime minister to invoke the Emergencies Act, giving the government additional powers to curb protesting and blockades. In a Twitter post, Trudeau claimed the truckers were carrying out “illegal blockades and occupations,” which are “a threat to jobs and communities, and they cannot continue.”
Starting on Feb. 18, in Ottawa, police were seen advancing on protesters, knocking down some people. Some police officers were heavily armed, including with assault rifles. Tamara Lich, one of the organizers of the Freedom Convoy, was scheduled to appear in court on Feb. 19 after being arrested on the charge of counseling to commit mischief.
Fellow Freedom Convoy organizer Chris Barber, who was also arrested, appeared before a court in Ottawa on Feb. 18. The presiding judge released Barber on a $100,000 bond and on condition that he leave Ontario and not publicly endorse the Freedom Convoy or have contact with the other major protest organizers.
Inside the United States, some officials said they are concerned that similar protests might occur in Washington, D.C.
The U.S. Capitol Police said that they were aware of plans for truck convoys to arrive in D.C. on the week that President Joe Biden is scheduled to deliver his State of the Union Address.
“Law enforcement agencies across the National Capital Region are aware of plans for a series of truck convoys arriving in Washington, DC around the time of the State of the Union. As with any demonstration, the USCP will facilitate lawful First Amendment activity,” Capitol Police said in a statement.
Limin Zhou contributed to this report.