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Windsor police have started the process of removing the Freedom Convoy Truckers from the Windsor Ambassador Bridge between Canada and the United States this morning.
A police blockade that was positioned near Windsor, Ontario, Canada’s Ambassador Bridge where protesters had set up a standoff at the USA/Canada border had started to be removed by Canadian police.
Windsor Police Department tweeted Saturday morning: “We encourage all demonstrators to act lawfully and peacefully. It is still advised that commuters do not travel through those areas affected by the demonstrations at this time.”
For several days, protesters have been occupying the bridge that leads into the United States in order to protest against the COVID-19 vaccine mandate.
The Ambassador Bridge, which is the busiest land border crossing in North America, has been closed to traffic for the fifth consecutive day on Saturday morning. Detroit’s automakers were choked by dozens of trucks, cars, pickup trucks, and vans clogging the supply chains for the city’s carmakers.
On the bridge, the police were seen moving behind the protesters’ cars in black uniforms with yellow vests. They were also accompanied by tactical teams and snipers.
By early Saturday morning, the number of protesters had declined from about 200 on Friday night to barely two dozen.
As a result of a ruling made late Friday afternoon, protesters were given until 7 p.m. to leave. However, crowds continued to grow after that point, and it was not clear when many would leave.
“The activities that are the subject of this injunction, the freedom that those want directly results in the denial of freedom to others in society. The direct denial of their freedom to work. The direct denial of their freedom to cross and to move goods and services across the bridge,” Ontario Superior Court Chief Justice Geoffrey Morawetz said before delivering his ruling.
As a result of the weekend blockade in Windsor, and another protest that has crippled Ottawa the downtown core for more than two weeks, Ontario Premier Doug Ford announced a state of emergency in the province earlier on Friday.
Ford said he is going to adopt an order that makes it “clearly” clear that blocking or obstructing the movement of goods, people and/or services along critical infrastructure is illegal and punishable.
Windsor police distributed flyers on Friday evening informing protesters that Ontario declared an emergency at midnight that was going to take effect at midnight.
It is “illegal and punishable to block and impede the movements of goods, people and services along critical infrastructure,” the flyer read.
However, The Star reported that protesters are standing their ground despite prospect of harsh penalties.
New warnings to stand down or face the imminent possibility of harsh consequences have been issued but protesters plugging roads around Parliament Hill as well as Canada’s busiest border crossing still show no signs of budging.
On Friday Ontario Premier Doug Ford declared a state of emergency that will allow his cabinet to impose $100,000 fines and up to one year in jail as punishments against people who continue to illegally block roads, bridges, walkways and other critical infrastructure.
Both Ford and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau warned the protesters, who are demanding an immediate end to all COVID-19 public health mandates and restrictions, that if they don’t go home the sanctions they face could ruin their lives.
An injunction was also issued after a judge ruled protesters blocking cross-border traffic at the Ambassador Bridge in Windsor, Ont., had until 7 p.m. Friday to clear the bridge.
Even after the deadline passed, the protestors at the bridge still told the media they would remain there until their demands were met. However, police began moving in on the site this morning and urged demonstrators to leave.
The bridge blockade has stemmed the flow of hundreds of millions of dollars in cross border trade, prompting entreaties from US President Joe Biden and Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer for Canadian officials to reopen the crossing and staunch the economic bleeding that is now threatening the livelihoods of a huge number of people on both sides of the border.
Canada is experiencing a politically charged situation where a wide variety of politicians from all walks of life are demanding an end to the blockades currently in place as well as taking action to counteract the impact of the additional demonstrations scheduled for this weekend across the country.