Cops Show Up at Dawn at Ambassador Bridge

Trucker protest seemed to dissolve peacefully as police moved in to enforce injunction
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Feb 12, 2022 10:15 AM CST
Police Move In to Clear Trucker Blockade at Bridge
Truckers and supporters are seen at the Ambassador Bridge in Windsor, Ontario, on Friday.   (Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press via AP)

A tense standoff at a US-Canadian border crossing crucial to both countries' economies appeared to be dissolving peacefully Saturday as Canadian police moved in to disperse the nearly weeklong blockade, and demonstrators began leaving without resistance. Many protesters drove away from the Ambassador Bridge spanning the river between Detroit and Windsor, Ontario, as scores of police approached shortly after dawn, per the AP. They'd spent the night there in defiance of new warnings to end the blockade, which disrupted the flow of traffic and goods and forced the auto industry on both sides to roll back production. Surrounded by dozens of officers, one man with "Trump 2024" and "Mandate Freedom" spray-painted on his vehicle left in the morning as other protesters began dismantling a small tarp-covered encampment.

Daniel Koss was among those who stayed overnight. Shortly before police advanced, he said the protest had succeeded in bringing attention to demands to lift COVID-19 mandates and he was happy it remained peaceful. "It's a win-win," Koss said. "The pandemic is rolling down right now, they can remove the mandates, all the mandates, and everyone's happy. The government does the right thing, and the protesters are all happy." He said he believed most people would disperse in an orderly fashion, "because we don't want to cause a big problem," he added. One truck driver honked his horn as he left, to cheers and chants of "Freedom!"

Windsor police tweeted that they'd begun enforcement at and around the bridge: "We urge all demonstrators to act lawfully & peacefully. Commuters are still being asked to avoid the areas affected by the demonstrations at this time." Most of the vehicles in the blockade were pickup trucks and other cars. The previous day, a judge ordered an end to the blockade and Ontario Premier Doug Ford declared a state of emergency, allowing for fines of 100,000 Canadian dollars and up to one year in jail for anyone illegally blocking roads, bridges, walkways, and other critical infrastructure. Chief Justice Geoffrey Morawetz of the Ontario Superior Court issued an injunction giving protesters blocking cross-border traffic until 7pm Friday to clear out. However, the deadline came and went.

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This week's demonstrations at the Ambassador Bridge, as well as in downtown Ottawa and elsewhere, have targeted vaccine mandates and other coronavirus restrictions. There's also an outpouring of fury toward Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who has called them a "fringe" of Canadian society. The protests have reverberated outside the country, and police in Paris intercepted at least 500 vehicles attempting to enter the French capital Saturday, in defiance of a police order, to take part in protests against virus restrictions inspired by Canada's horn-honking "Freedom Convoy." Several convoys were stopped from entering at key Parisian arteries, and more than 200 motorists were ticketed, police said.

(More truckers stories.)

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