US-Canadian Border Crossing Reopens After Clearing Ambassador Bridge Blockade
Police cleared a six-day long blockade at Ambassador Bridge, paving the way for restoring vital commerce between the United States and Canada.
Protesters, led by Canada’s truck drivers, have been blocking the roads leading to the Ambassador Bridge challenging the government’s Covid-19 restrictions.
The unrest began on January 29 when a group of truckers drove into the heart of Ottawa, calling it “Freedom Convoy”, protesting a new rule that all truck drivers must be vaccinated to cross the US-Canada border.
The protest spread to other parts of the country, and various sections of people joined the protest, which in effect turned out to be an anti-Trudeau movement.
Protesters blocked several border crossings across Canada, but the biggest one was in Windsor, Ontario, which links Detroit, a key trade route for both countries.
Windsor Police on Sunday arrested protesters and removed vehicles that were blocking the bridge.
“Let me be crystal clear: it is illegal and punishable to block and impede the movement of goods, people and services along critical infrastructure,” Ontario Premier Doug Ford warned on Twitter Sunday. “Fines for noncompliance will be severe, with a maximum penalty of $100,000 and up to a year imprisonment,” he added.
Police took action after a state of emergency was declared in Ontario and an injunction granted by an Ontario judge took effect Friday.
On Sunday, protest leaders signed an tentative agreement with the city of Ottawa agreeing to relocate the convoy of trucks from residential areas, which paralyzed traffic and crippled normal life.
Earlier, the leaders of the United States and Canada worked closely to end the blockade of key bridges and crossings between the two countries.
Following US President Joe Biden’s video teleconference with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Friday, White House Homeland Security Advisor Dr. Liz Sherwood-Randall spoke with Canadian National Security and Intelligence Advisor Jody Thomas. “We discussed the widespread damaging impacts the obstructions have already had on the lives and livelihoods of people in both our nations and the imperative of taking swift, strong action and deterring future blockades,” Randall said in a statement.
The updates received from the Canadian counterparts indicate that most protestors have been cleared from the Ambassador bridge, barriers are being removed, and the corridor is being secured, Randall said. “Canadian authorities are taking proactive steps to ensure no further unlawful disruption of the flow of people and goods occurs. Individuals trespassing on property located on the road to the bridge will be cited for trespassing and their vehicles will be towed,” he added.
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