Since the big rigs entrenched in the core of Canada’s capital first pulled in nearly three weeks ago, they have arranged themselves in a semblance of order, parking in evenly spaced rows. Their drivers have stayed warm and are fed by a corps of marshaled volunteers. And though they have varying personal beliefs, they appear carefully on message: “Freedom!” has been the repeated refrain for the past 19 days.

It is no accident: High above the clot of trucks on Ottawa’s Parliament Hill, in hotel rooms just out of the fray, are the war rooms behind the operation. From them, a team of self-appointed leaders — some with military and right-wing organizing backgrounds — have orchestrated a disciplined and highly coordinated occupation.

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