'Freedom Convoy' Leader Done With Organizing After Night in Ottawa Jail

A Canadian "Freedom Convoy" leader says his "organizing days are over" following a night in an Ottawa prison.

Chris Barber, 46, a prominent leader and organizer of the "Freedom Convoy" protests, was arrested on Thursday alongside fellow leader Tamara Lich. Attorney Keith Wilson told The Globe and Mail that Barber was being charged with alleged counseling to commit mischief, obstruction, and counseling to commit obstruction.

By Friday night, Barber had been granted bail and released after spending a night in the Ottawa Police cellblock, according to the Ottawa Citizen. The now-former leader was released on the condition that he leave town within 24 hours, return to his residence in Swift Current, Saskatoon, and never support the protests ever again verbally, on television or online. His release was secured for him by defense lawyer Diane Magas.

freedom convoy chris barber
"Freedom Convoy" leader Chris Barber has been released from prison after agreeing to leave Ottawa and never support the protests again. Above, trucks taking part in the protests seen in the streets of downtown Ottawa. Dave Chan/AFP via Getty Images

Barber runs a trucking business that employs four other truckers and was able to post the $100,000 needed for his bail. His business operates across the Prairie regions of Canada and also in certain parts of the U.S.

He is also required to remain at his home until his case has made its way through the Canadian justice system. He will have to check in with Ottawa homicide detective Chris Benson periodically over the phone and is banned from communicating with other convoy leaders, including Lich, Daniel Bulford, and Patrick King. The latter two were arrested on Friday.

Should Barber's case go to trial, according to the Ottawa Citizen, it is expected that the Crown Attorney Office in Ottawa will seek a two-year prison sentence for criminal charges, including "tormenting" the Canadian capital and inciting other protestors to engage in illegal behaviors.

As he heads back home, Barber has been allowed to help other truckers heading in the same direction pay for gas, due to issues receiving crowdfunded money.

Throughout the protests, Barber had been active on TikTok under the account name, @bigred19755. He has previously compared Canada's COVID-19 restrictions and vaccine mandates, two primary targets of the protests, to the policies of North Korea and called them "tyranny at its finest."

In a statement on Tuesday, he urged "Freedom Convoy" participants to comply with law enforcement should the situation arise.

"We'll follow any direction of law enforcement," he said. "We've said it right from day one: If you're confronted by a police officer and the handcuffs come out, put your hands behind your back. Take it like a man. I've never been arrested by police. I've never had handcuffs on...If that comes, I'll be the first guy to get arrested."