DETROIT – Protesters are beginning to clear the blockade at the Ambassador Bridge in Windsor Saturday as police move in following days of disrupted travel and trade between the U.S. and Canada.
Police are reportedly pushing the crowd of protesters away from the bridge to help end the blockade. More have joined the group since the morning.
Windsor police began removing protesters from the site Saturday morning, despite a judge ruling Friday that demonstrators had until 7 p.m. Friday night to leave the area or be removed, if necessary. Many protesters were cleared out by 11 p.m. on Friday, but several stayed overnight and remained there Saturday morning.
The judge’s ruling came after Windsor Mayor Drew Dilkens sought an injunction this week to end the protests and the blockade that has caused international strife.
Canadian protesters gathered at the Ambassador Bridge earlier this week to denounce the nation’s COVID-19 mandates and restrictions. Truck drivers, who comprise the so-called “Freedom Convoy,” and civilian drivers parked their vehicles in an effort to disrupt travel -- which they have done for six days as of Saturday morning.
Commercial vehicles have been unable to move freely between Canada and the U.S. at the busiest international port for the nations, significantly disrupting trade and automakers’ ability to continue production.
Several automotive companies have shut down or restricted workflow at their plants for the coming week due to supply shortages caused by the blockade.
Police have asked protesters to leave the area peacefully on Saturday, after several demonstrators remained overnight Friday despite the court ruling. Canadian officials have threatened severe consequences for individuals who continue protesting after they’ve been told to leave.
On Friday, Canadian media reported that protestors would re-open one lane of the Ambassador Bridge as an “act of good faith,” but that did not happen. Ontario Premier Doug Ford declared a province-wide state of emergency amid the protests.
“To those who’ve attempted to disrupt our way of life by targeting our lifeline for food, fuel and goods across our borders, to those trying to force a political agenda through disruption, intimidation and chaos, my message to you is this: Your right to make a political statement does not outweigh the rights of thousands of workers to earn their living,” Ford said. “It does not outweigh our right to get food across our borders.”