Holdouts Still Blocking Key Bridge Connecting Canada And U.S. After Police Clear Away Most Protesters

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Topline

Most demonstrators drove away peacefully Saturday morning from the Ambassador Bridge, but Canadian police were facing off with a handful who continued to block the critical border crossing linking the U.S. and Canada in protest against Covid-19 restrictions a day after a judge granted an injunction to remove them.

Key Facts

As of early afternoon, about 15 trucks, cars and vans continued to block the bridge in both directions, according to Reuters.

One intersection leading to the bridge had been cleared, but two were still blocked and demonstrators defying police orders to leave moved around between the two, the New York Times reported.

Some of the remaining protesters were screaming at police officers, blaring their horns, and singing Canada’s national anthem, while some were cleaning the area of a now-dismantled tent they had used to store necessities, like food, the Times reported.

Ontario Superior Court Chief Justice Geoffrey Morawez granted an injunction Friday to start removing protesters who since Monday have blocked the bridge connecting Windsor, Ontario, and Detroit, Michigan, which carries a quarter of all trade between Canada and the U.S.

Doug Ford, the premier of Ontario, declared a state of emergency Friday, warning protesters they will face stiff punishment, including fines of up to 100,000 Canadian dollars ($78,800) and jail time, if they did not disband.

Key Background

Two other critical border crossings have also been disrupted in protests led by truckers angry over the Canadian government’s requirement for unvaccinated drivers to quarantine for two weeks on reentering the country. Nearly 90% of Canadian truckers are fully vaccinated. The throttling of cross-border trade has forced automakers including General Motors, Ford and Toyota to reduce production on both sides of the border. The rallies have drawn support from former President Donald Trump, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and the eccentric billionaire Elon Musk, among other figures. A fundraising effort on a Christian site to support the protests had raised around $9 million as of Saturday morning.

What To Watch For

More protests this weekend in Canada and potentially in the U.S. Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson told CNN he expects more protests over the weekend. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security warned Tuesday copycat protests could take place in the U.S., and potentially cause disruptions to Sunday’s Super Bowl in Los Angeles. Protests in Canada have also prompted copycat demonstrations in France, New Zealand and Australia.

Big Number

$51 million. That’s the estimated amount of wages workers in the Michigan auto industry lost this week due to the shuttering of plants as a result of the protests, according to Anderson Economic Group.

Further Reading

Canada police arrive to remove protesters at US border (Associated Press)

Police face off with protesters, who begin to leave Ontario bridge. (New York Times)

Judge Authorizes Canadian Police To Clear Protesters Blocking Crucial Bridge To U.S. (Forbes)

Canadian Protest Convoy Raises $8.7 Million As Donations Flow Into Christian Site A Day After Ontario Court Freezes Monetary Access (Forbes)