Police in Windsor said they were beginning to enforce the judge’s order to clear the Ambassador Bridge. AP
Ns News Online Desk: More than 12 hours after a Canadian judge ordered anti-vaccine mandate truckers to end their blockade of a bridge linking Ontario and Michigan, police were finally moving to end the protest, according to reports.
Just after 8 a.m., police in Windsor, Ontario said they were beginning enforcement of the judge’s order to clear the Ambassador bridge.
“The Windsor Police & its policing partners have commenced enforcement at and near the Ambassador 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,” the department posted on Twitter.
A tense but celebratory atmosphere had prevailed early Saturday at the Ambassador bridge, as the sun came up on truckers who had kept their bumper-to-bumper protest going all night, despite a court order to clear the road. Livestreams from Windsor, Ontario showed the protesters, who sleep in nearby hotels or in their truck cabs, emerging as dawn broke, and gathering in small groups near the Canadian side of the bridge, greeting each other and chatting about the ongoing demonstration.
Several could be heard on the livestreams observing that there were multiple tow trucks in the area, but no vehicles were removed overnight from the span, which links Ontario and Michigan.
Ontario Superior Court Chief Justice Geoffrey Morawetz ordered the so-called “Freedom Convoy” to clear the bridge Friday evening, after five days of protests which brought traffic to a halt.
But it’s not clear when or if police will move to enforce the ruling after the protesters held a unanimous vote late Friday to continue the blockade that has forced plant closures and work stoppages on both sides of the border. It has also inspired copycat protests in other countries, including France and Australia, and some US truckers have put out a call to disrupt Sunday’s Super Bowl in Los Angeles using similar tactics.
Windsor Police did not immediately respond to phone calls early Saturday, but in a statement released late Friday, it called the blockade “unlawful.”
“We are providing notice that anyone blocking streets or assisting others in the blocking of streets may be committing a criminal offense and must immediately cease further unlawful activity or you may face charges,” the statement said, threatening arrests for anyone taking part. “Vehicles or other property related to an offense may be seized,” the statement continued.
In a direct threat to the truckers who earn their living transporting goods between the two countries, the cops added that “charges and/or convictions related to the unlawful activity associated with the demonstration may lead to denial in crossing the USA border.”
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has warned that “everything is on the table” to end the blockade.