Convoy organizers Tamara Lich and Chris Barber to go on trial in September 2023

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OTTAWA — Two of the main "Freedom Convoy" organizers, Tamara Lich and Chris Barber, are expected to go on trial in September 2023 for charges related to the massive protest that gridlocked downtown Ottawa earlier this year.

Thousands of demonstrators filled the streets of Ottawa at the end of January and stayed for three weeks to protest COVID-19 restrictions and the Liberal government.

Big rigs and other vehicles blocked roads around the parliamentary precinct, filling the air with gas fumes and blaring horns at all hours as the city fell into what many officials have described a state of "lawlessness."

Lich and Barber were both arrested the day before hundreds of police officers in tactical gear moved in to remove the protesters from the roads around Parliament Hill in February.

The pair have been co-accused of mischief, obstructing police, and counselling others to commit mischief and intimidation.

The trial is expected to start on Sept. 5, 2023 and last about 16 days.

Lich and Barber have been released on bail with strict instructions not to communicate with each other or with other convoy organizers except under the supervision of their lawyers.

Lich was arrested on a Canada-wide warrant in June after she was accused of breaching her bail conditions by appearing at an awards ceremony with fellow convoy organizer Tom Marazzo.

She was released again in July, but is still charged with failing to comply with her conditions.

Pat King, another key figure in the convoy movement, is also expected to stand trial for a series of charges related to his involvement in the protest. A date has not yet been set.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 30, 2022.

Laura Osman, The Canadian Press