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Chris Barber said early in last year’s “Freedom Convoy” protest that he felt things were getting “out of control” and unsafe, an officer who served as an intermediary between organizers and police testified in court on Thursday.

Ottawa police Constable Nicole Bach said Mr. Barber expressed that the convoy had “lost sight” of what it was originally intended for on Feb. 2, 2022, a few days after demonstrators first converged on downtown Ottawa.

Constable Bach also said Mr. Barber relayed in the early stages of the protests that demonstrators were running low on food and fuel for their vehicles.

Mr. Barber and Tamara Lich are facing charges for their role in bringing thousands of big-rig trucks to Ottawa in protest against COVID-19 public-health measures and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government.

Constable Bach testified on Thursday about her interactions with Mr. Barber and other convoy participants over the three weeks they were entrenched in the capital’s downtown core.

Constable Bach said she recalls Mr. Barber telling her that “guys are being starved for fuel and food” on Feb. 1.

“We need to get these issues streamlined as this is not going away,” she said she remembers Mr. Barber saying in the same conversation.

Constable Bach said Mr. Barber also communicated to her that convoy participants were staying in two downtown Ottawa hotels, Swiss Hotel and ARC Hotel, which he referred to as “war rooms.”

Constable Bach testified that as she was co-ordinating with Mr. Barber in the early days of the protest, she observed “total gridlock” in downtown Ottawa.

She said protesters were agitated and unco-operative with police.

Later, on Feb. 9, Constable Bach said Mr. Barber’s tone changed as he told her that the convoy would only leave Ottawa if Prime Minister Justin Trudeau were to recognize the group and lift pandemic-related mandates.

She testified that he also warned her a forcible police operation with riot gear would be a “big mistake.”

The Crown pulled up a TikTok video from Feb. 7, 2022, in which Mr. Barber can be heard saying, “This intersection looks lonely do you think we can fix that?” to another protester.

Constable Bach said that when she texted Mr. Barber about the video, he responded to be careful with the videos on his TikTok, because he likes to provoke.

She said he maintained in private that he would collaborate with police to clear trucks from downtown.

Throughout her testimony, Constable Bach referred to logs of conversation she had with other police liaison officers during the convoy to refresh her memory.

Constable Bach is one of three Ottawa police liaison offers scheduled to testify in the trial.

The Crown’s case depends on proving that Ms. Lich and Mr. Barber exerted influence over the crowds and truck drivers that blocked off major streets downtown.

On Wednesday, Constable Isabelle Cyr told the court that Mr. Barber and Ms. Lich’s group was just one convoy that made its way to Ottawa as part of the protest.

On Thursday, Mr. Barber’s lawyer questioned how Constable Bach lost a series of text messages that could be used as evidence in the case.

Constable Bach said she lost all her contacts and messages on her work phone after a mandatory IT update for all police departments. The messages she lost included conversations with Mr. Barber and convoy organizer Pat King, who is set to face his own criminal trial later this fall.

The defence is expected to continue its cross-examination of Constable Bach on Friday.

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