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Canadian Armed Forces member arrested after breaching PM’s estate

An armed member of Canada’s military has been arrested after driving a pick-up truck through the gates of an estate where Prime Minister Justin Trudeau lives, police say.

The main entrance to Rideau Hall in Ottawa appears to have been damaged

The suspect used his vehicle to breach the main entrance of Rideau Hall in Ottawa early on Thursday morning.

He then entered the grounds on foot before being confronted by police.

The man was arrested at 08:30 local time (12:30 GMT) without incident. He is in custody, with charges pending.

Mr Trudeau and his family, who are currently living at a cottage on the Rideau Hall estate while the prime minister’s official residence is being renovated, were not at home at the time of the incident.

Nor was Governor General Julie Payette, who resides at Rideau Hall as the official representative of Queen Elizabeth II, Canada’s head of state.

“We thank the RCMP and police for quickly resolving the situation this morning at Rideau Hall. All of our staff are safe,” Ms Payette tweeted on Thursday.

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) said the suspect was a member of the Canadian Armed Forces, whose identity “will be confirmed as soon as possible”.

The suspect’s car was inspected by a bomb-disposal unit as a precaution

The RCMP said it is working closely with the Canadian Armed Forces to investigate the incident, which was resolved “quickly and safely”.

“Through our members’ vigilance, quick action and successful de-escalation techniques, this highly volatile incident was resolved swiftly and peacefully,” the RCMP’s deputy commissioner, Mike Duheme, said.

The grounds of Rideau Hall, which sits on an 88-acre (0.35 sq km) wooded estate, have been closed to the public during the coronavirus pandemic.

Pictures taken outside Rideau Hall appear to show damage to its main pedestrian gate, which the suspect rammed through in his vehicle. The vehicle was disabled on impact, the RCMP said.

Mr Trudeau and his family live in a cottage on the grounds of the estate

Other pictures show an empty black pick-up truck inside the grounds of the estate. The RCMP said an army unit with a bomb-disposal robot searched the vehicle as a precaution.

Citing sources, Canadian media outlet Global News said the suspect had multiple firearms, including one rifle and two shotguns. The man indicated he wanted to speak to the prime minister but surrendered peacefully to police, a source told Global News.

CBC News cited a source as saying the suspect had driven his truck from the central province of Manitoba, about 1,900 km (1,180 miles) west of Ottawa.

Mr Trudeau has moved to limit the ownership of certain weapons in Canada, where gun ownership is popular, especially in rural parts of the country.

He introduced a long-promised ban on assault-style weapons in May this year, after a gun a rampage across the province of Nova Scotia that became the deadliest shooting in Canada’s history.

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