Canadian police evacuate border bridge as protest grows

5. Canada protest
Demonstrators and bystanders cheer in support of a protest by truck drivers over pandemic health rules and the Trudeau government, outside the parliament of Canada in Ottawa, Ontario, on February 12, 2022. (Photo: AFP)
WINDSOR, Canada — Canadian police on Saturday began clearing a key bridge of truckers protesting COVID-19 restrictions, even as authorities in Ottawa braced for renewed demonstrations expected to bring thousands to the federal capital.اضافة اعلان

The provincial supreme court in Ontario had ordered truckers to end their blockade of the strategic Ambassador Bridge, which links the city of Windsor in Canada to Detroit, Michigan in the US.

The protest has forced major automakers in both countries to halt or scale back production, and Washington on Friday urged Ottawa to use its federal powers to end the blockade.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau promised “an increasingly robust police intervention,” adding that borders cannot remain closed and “this conflict must end.”

Ontario province, heavily dependent on the auto industry, has declared a state of emergency.

But while Canadian police began the process of clearing the Ambassador Bridge — tents erected in traffic lanes were taken down, and some trucks had left the scene by mid-morning Saturday — protests continued, there and elsewhere.

As police backed by armored vehicles advanced slowly on the bridge, dozens of demonstrators continued to block the way.

“Enforcement continuing, individuals who are located within the demonstration area are subject to arrest,” the Windsor police warned on Twitter. “People are advised to immediately vacate the area.”

The protesters have been warned that they could face heavy fines, jail time, and loss of their driver’s licenses if they continue obstructing traffic.

The Ambassador Bridge is vital to the US and Canadian auto industries, carrying more than 25 percent of merchandise exported by both countries.

Two other US-Canada border crossings remain blocked by protests: one linking Manitoba province to the US state of North Dakota, and a second one in Alberta province.

Read more Region and World