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Canadian police make progress in tackling anti-vaccination protests by truckers

Police are making progress in efforts to break a week-long blockade by a group of truckers and anti-lockdown protesters at a key border crossing between the US and Canada on Saturday, with Large trucks choose to leave the area peacefully.

Ambassador Bridge, North America’s busiest traffic crossing, remained closed on Saturday afternoon as a small group of anti-vaccination protesters, along with other cars and trucks, returned to take part. with them. The bridge connects Windsor, Ontario with Detroit, Michigan.

Drew Dilkens, mayor of Windsor, said “[police] If the enforcement has started, it will continue until it is finished, the purpose is to let people live in peace”. He said if protesters refused to “move out peacefully”, police would “do what is necessary to do. . . so that we can reopen this border gate”.

“This is no longer just about vaccine duty and mask duty, this is more about an anti-government protest and it has no leader,” he added.

Dilkens said daily trade across the Ambassador Bridge is $400 million Canadian ($314 million), with 8,000-10,000 trucks passing.

On Saturday morning, the truckers drove away without resistance after police moved in. Before that, they had shouted “shame” and “freedom” as a line of policemen advanced.

Protesters, part of the self-styled “Liberty Convoy” that occupied Ottawa, Canada’s capital, for two weeks, defied warnings to end the blockade by spending the night at the border.

What started as a small protest against the requirement that truckers need to be vaccinated to cross the Canada-U.S. border has turned into a large, foreign-sponsored anti-government protest. Justin Trudeauthe centre-left prime minister, has become a prime target for the protesters’ anger.

In addition to the blockade of the Ambassador Bridge, protesters, with demands ranging from easing Covid-19 restrictions to overthrowing Trudeau’s government, surrounded Ottawa and continued to clog traffic at a border crossing. other important world in Coutts, Alberta. The “Liberty Convoy” does not have the support of trade unions representing truckers.

On Friday, a judge ordered an end to the blockade, while Doug Ford, the prime minister of Ontario, declared a state of emergency, threatening road and bridge blockers with a $100,000 Canadian fine and one years in prison. Police arrived on Saturday morning, after the court-mandated deadline of 7 p.m. Friday had passed.

The Ambassador Bridge supports more than a quarter of trade between Canada and the United States, prompting White House concerns about supply chain disruptions. This week, US President Joe Biden asked Trudeau’s government to use federal power to end the blockade. On Friday, the Canadian leader said he was not seriously considering deploying the military.

Manufacturers have suffered from supply chain problems. On Friday, Ford, America’s second-largest automaker, said it was shutting down operations at its assembly plant in Ohio, while Toyota and General Motors announced production cuts.

Thousands of anti-vaccination protesters descended on Ottawa in late January, where about 400 trucks blocked the streets in front of parliament for two weeks. Protesters have erected a stage, a large screen, a bar tent, kitchens, fortified castle and a hot tub. Horn honking continues despite a judge’s injunction issued last week.

The protests have won the support of senior US right-wing figures, including former president Donald Trump, and have inspired similar actions in France, New Zealand, the US and Australia .

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