On Friday, video emerged of protesters being pushed to the ground to the ground by horses utilized in a police crackdown on the Freedom Convoy.
Interim Ottawa police chief Steve Bell said Saturday that protesters had begun a deliberate misinformation campaign, according to the CBC.
“Almost immediately there [were] tweets, there [were] pictures that had been photoshopped, out on social media that indicated people had died,” he said. “That the horses had run over someone with a walker in the crowd.”
Nothing like that took place, he claimed.
However, in images from the scene, a woman with a walker is clearly visible laying in the street as the mounted police and their horses pass. Another protester, a man, appears to be on the street directly beneath one of the horses.
The two people who fell down “immediately got back up and started to engage in their protest and demonstration activity,” Bell said.
The official line is that no one was injured in the mass arrests that began Friday.
The incident did cause some bad information to go out. Journalist and Fox contributor Sara Carter, with 1.3 million Twitter followers, published a Twitter post Friday indicating that a woman had died in the trampling. She published a post apologizing on Saturday morning:
But as Toronto Sun columnist Joe Warmington wrote, the Canadian government has lost the public image war with its brutal tactics.
“Turns out the lasting image of the Freedom Convoy protest at Parliament Hill will not be bouncy castles but that of a woman with a walker being trampled by a police horse,” he wrote.
Warmington wrote that despite claims from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau that the protesters were violent, but “instead of violence there were bouncy castles, hot tubs, pancake breakfasts, pig roasts, road hockey games, dancing and fireworks displays.”
“They brought in a crane to rise the Canadian flag and sang ‘O Canada’ every day. They definitely wore out their welcome while clogging up the parliamentary district of Ottawa, not wearing masks and excessively honking their horns. But they didn’t cause violence,” he wrote.
Then Warmington asked a question about the crackdown that’s likely to be heavily debated in days to come:
“So why the heavy hand in their mission to win back the city?”
“No matter how it’s spun at the end of the day, a majority of these protesters merely didn’t want to take a vaccine, parked illegally, honked their horns and disobeyed Trudeau. It’s not enough to hurt them,” he wrote. “This was not ISIS out there. It was Canadians with charter rights. But the rhetoric was revved up by Trudeau as if it was a terror cell putting Canada’s democracy at risk.”
Warmington said questions need to be answered.
“Trudeau must be asked to answer why was it necessary to make the front of the parliament looked like a civil war Friday. It is true the protesters were a nuisance, but it wasn’t them who were violent,” he wrote.