Video: Police regain control of Ambassador Bridge area following days of protests

Canadian police make several arrests, break up convoys

Ontario and Windsor police took decisive action Sunday morning as they worked to clear protesters from the Ambassador Bridge area by making arrests and moving vehicles that have been parked there for days. We've got some footage from the scene.

WINDSOR, ONT. – Ontario and Windsor police took decisive action Sunday morning as they worked to clear protesters from the Ambassador Bridge area by making arrests and moving vehicles that had been parked there for days.

You can see footage in the video report above.

Demonstrators have been convening in Windsor, and across the country of Canada, for several days to protest against the nation’s COVID-19 mandates and restrictions. Members of the so-called Freedom Convoy parked semi trucks and other vehicles in Windsor in an effort to block traffic on the Ambassador Bridge -- which they have for nearly a week.

The demonstrations have resulted in severely restricted travel and trade between the U.S. and Canada, impacting both economies and automakers, specifically.

More: Ambassador Bridge blockade taking its toll on automakers, Michigan’s economy

A judge granted an injunction on Friday, allowing officials to begin removing protesters from the Ambassador Bridge area to end the blockade. While some protesters cleared out Friday night, police didn’t begin removing people until Saturday morning. Law enforcement were able to push protesters back from the entrance to the bridge, but demonstrators later reconvened nearby, anyway.

Since Saturday, protesters have been about a mile away from the Ambassador Bridge, essentially in a standoff with police. There wasn’t any movement for hours, until early Sunday morning when officers moved in.

On Sunday morning, a heavy police presence appeared in Windsor, with officers standing in formations behind cement blockades. Police began moving in on protesters lingering in the area, including two pickup trucks that had been parked and blocking the road for several days.

In the video player above, you can see police move in on protesters and make several arrests, including of the drivers of the two trucks parked in the road.

Ontario police then walked half a mile to another intersection, where a second convoy of vehicles had set up in protest, including a tractor, an RV and several pickup trucks. They had been parked in the area for at least one day.

As police started walking toward that convoy Sunday morning, those vehicles began to leave. The convoy ultimately cleared the area.

Police can be seen standing in formations in the road, effectively retaking control of the area from the Ambassador Bridge to where the second convoy of protesters had set up 2 miles away.

Despite law enforcement’s progress, one bystander said he does not believe that this is the end; he thinks that once the Ambassador Bridge is reopened, protesters will come back again and in greater numbers.

Now that police have regained control of the area, their goal is to maintain control before officially reopening the international bridge to traffic. It is unclear when exactly the bridge is expected to reopen. Michigan State Police said Sunday that ramps to the Ambassador Bridge remain closed at this time.

Read more: Windsor police arrest protesters that remained at Ambassador Bridge

The Windsor Police Service issued the following statement on Sunday:

“Throughout this demonstration, Police have respected the protesters’ freedom of expression and their right to a peaceful assembly. The importance of public safety remained the number one priority of officers with the goal being a peaceful resolution. Remaining committed to professionalism, keeping lines of communication open and using proper police discretion, guided our response to this major event.

“The Windsor Police Service along with policing partners used a progressive approach by ensuring open lines of communication and continuous negotiations with protestors. During these negotiations, demonstrators were made aware that their actions were illegal and subject to arrest, specifically that they could be charged with mischief.

“We also recognize the rights of the general public, local residents and businesses to a safe environment. Police used discretion during the course of the demonstration to avoid creating an unstable situation and potentially putting the public at risk. This exercising of police discretion should not be confused with lack of enforcement.

“On Sunday, February 13, 2022, police at the demonstration site engaged protesters for the purpose of continued enforcement and several arrests were made. The arrested persons are all facing a charge of mischief. Multiple vehicles within the demonstration area were also seized.

“You will see a continued police presence in the area in order to maintain an environment that is safe. In an effort to work towards resuming traffic flow, a continuous assessment of the situation is vital to ensure a sustainable solution.”

Windsor Police Service

About the Authors:

Cassidy Johncox is a senior digital news editor covering stories across the spectrum, with a special focus on politics and community issues.

Priya joined WDIV-Local 4 in 2013 as a reporter and fill-in anchor. Education: B.A. in Communications/Post Grad in Advanced Journalism