Protesters who had blocked commerce between Canada and the United States at a key border crossing were removed from the scene by Canadian police on Saturday. Windsor police sent a tweet Saturday afternoon stating that officials had begun issuing penalties and towing automobiles that had stayed parked in the vicinity of the demonstration.
Defiance of new warnings to end the blockade on the Ambassador Bridge, which spans the river between Detroit and Windsor, Ontario, demonstrators remained at the bridge throughout the night. The blockade disrupted the flow of traffic and goods and forced the auto industry on both sides of the river to scale back production. However, when a large number of police officers appeared just after daybreak on Saturday, many of them drove away.
Surrounded by scores of cops, a guy with “Mandate Freedom” and “Trump 2024” spray-painted on his truck fled as other protestors started demolishing a tiny tarp-covered campsite. As he drove away, a trucker honked his horn, prompting shouts and cries of “Freedom!” from the crowd.
Meanwhile, local police in Ottawa announced that they had established a command centre to deal with the protests, which drew approximately 4,000 people to the nation’s capital on Saturday.
In a statement issued late Saturday, the police department said that “safety concerns – deriving from violent, unlawful behaviour by numerous protestors – hampered police enforcement powers.” But it claimed to have managed a convoy of 300 vehicles as well as a “20-kilometer-long automobile convoy from Quebec” in a single day. It also prevented a gasoline delivery to downtown Ottawa from taking place.
Amid the protests on the Ambassador Bridge, in downtown Ottawa, and elsewhere, protestors have attacked vaccination requirements and other coronavirus restrictions while also venting their anger at Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who has labelled the demonstrators as “fringe” members of Canadian society.
There have been demonstrations inspired by the protests in other countries as well, including France, New Zealand, and the Netherlands. The United States Department of Homeland Security has warned that truck protests may be on the way in the United States.
Daniel Koss was among those who remained overnight. He said just before police arrived that the demonstration had been successful in drawing attention to the need to abolish COVID-19 requirements and that he was pleased that it had been peaceful.
“It’s a win-win situation,” Koss said. “The epidemic is rolling down right now, and they can just withdraw all of the requirements and everyone will be satisfied. The government does the right thing, and everyone, even the demonstrators, is pleased.”
He expressed confidence that the majority of people will evacuate in a calm and orderly manner, “because we don’t want to generate a major incident.”
More protestors, armed with flags and chanting, descended on the location late Saturday morning to join the rally. People were being pushed away from the bridge by police, but there were no visible physical confrontations between them.
Following a judge’s order to end the blockade of mostly pickup trucks and cars, Ontario Premier Doug Ford declared a state of emergency, imposing fines of up to $100,000 Canadian dollars and up to one year in prison on anyone caught illegally obstructing roads, bridges, walkways, or any other critical infrastructure.
In a tweet on Friday, he said that “the right to demonstrate does not outweigh the right to receive food, petrol, and supplies over our border.” “As a result, we are guaranteeing that our police officers have the resources and authority necessary to settle this crisis and bring order back.”
The Ambassador Bridge is the busiest border crossing between the United States and Canada, handling 25 percent of all commerce between the two nations.