Ambassador Bridge, an important bridge between the US and Canada, reopens as the COVID-19 protests in Ottawa continue

WINDSOR, Ontario – The busiest US-Canada border crossing opened Monday after protesters protesting against COVID-19 measures blocked it for nearly a week, but a larger demonstration in Ottawa, continues as the city’s residents boil over the government’s inability to reclaim the streets.

Protests against virus restrictions and other problems have worsened some traffic along the US-Canada border and hurt the economies of both countries. They also inspired similar convoys in France, New Zealand and the Netherlands. US authorities have said that convoys of trucks may be operating in the United States.

Police in Windsor, Ontario, arrested 25 to 30 protesters and towed several vehicles on Sunday near the Ambassador Bridge, which connects Windsor – and many Canadian car factories – with Detroit. The bridge, which carries 25% of total trade between the two countries, reopened on Sunday night.

After protesters began blocking the entrance to the bridge on February 7, automakers began closing or reducing production at a time when the industry is already grappling with a shortage of computer chips caused by a shortage of computer chips. pandemic and other supply chain disruptions.

“Today our national economic crisis at Ambassador Bridge is over,” Windsor Mayor Drew Dilkens said Sunday.

About 470 miles (750 km) northeast of Windsor, protests in Ottawa have paralyzed the city centre, angered residents fed up with police inaction and put pressure on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau .

Trudeau was scheduled to meet mostly with Canadian provincial leaders Monday morning, as well as with lawmakers.

The city appears to have reached an agreement where the protesters, who have been clogging the downtown streets for more than two weeks, will move out of residential areas, but those prospects fade quickly.

Mayor Jim Watson said on Sunday that he agreed to meet the protesters if they limited their rally to an area around Parliament Hill and moved their trucks and other vehicles away. residential area on Monday afternoon. He shared a letter from one of the protest organizers, Tamara Lich, in which she said protesters “agree with your request” to gather activities on Parliament Hill .

But Lich later denied there was a deal, saying in a tweet: “No deal done. End the mission, terminate the passport. That’s why we’re here.”

In a letter Watson wrote to protesters, he said residents were “exhausted” and “overwhelmed” by the protests, and he warned that some businesses were on the verge of closing permanently. .

In Surrey, British Columbia, police arrested four protesters on Sunday, and officers in Alberta said they intercepted and disabled three excavators that were being brought to a border area in the town of Coutts. .

While protesters decry vaccine regulations for truckers and other COVID-19 restrictions, many of Canada’s public health measures, such as mask-wearing and protective Vaccines to enter restaurants and theatres, were no longer available when omicron levels spiked.

Pandemic restrictions in Canada are much stricter than in the US, but most Canadians have supported them. The vast majority of Canadians are vaccinated, and the death rate from COVID-19 is one-third that of the United States.

A judge on Friday ordered an end to the blockade at the Ambassador Bridge and Ontario Premier Doug Ford declared a state of emergency allowing for a $100,000 fine and up to a year in prison for anyone. block roads, bridges and other critical infrastructure.

Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer hailed the end of the lockdown as “a victory for Michigan’s working families who are just trying to do their jobs and for businesses that can get back to shipping produce. products and their production.” She added: “It’s important to make sure this doesn’t happen again.”

Michigan officials estimate that 10,000 commercial vehicles cross the bridge each day with $325 million in merchandise, about $50 million from auto parts.

Protests in Windsor began to subside on Saturday after police persuaded many protesters to remove vehicles blocking the way to the bridge. But in Ottawa, the crowd on Saturday was so large that police said it was 4,000 protesters, and a protest by frustrated Ottawa residents trying to block the convoy of trucks entering the city center emerged. show on Sunday.

Clayton Goodwin, a 45-year-old military veteran who was among the protesters, said it was time for people to stand up to the protesters.

“I am appalled when other veterans down there co-select my flag, co-select the service,” said Goodwin, CEO of the Veterans Accountability Commission, a nonprofit advocacy group. mine”. “It’s an attraction. The city is already free. We’re 92 percent vaccinated. We’re ready to support our businesses.”

Colleen Sinclair, another protester, said protesters had their say and needed to move on – with police force, if necessary.

“They are occupiers,” she said. “This is domestic terrorism and we want you to leave our city. Go home.”

Trudeau has so far rejected calls to use the military but says “all options are on the table” to end the protests. Trudeau has called the protesters “the fringes” of Canadian society. Both federal and provincial politicians say they cannot dictate what police should do.


Gillies reports from Toronto. Associated Press writers Ted Shaffrey in Ottawa, Ontario and Gene Johnson in Seattle contributed to this report.

Copyright © 2022 of the Associated Press. Copyright Registered. Ambassador Bridge, an important bridge between the US and Canada, reopens as the COVID-19 protests in Ottawa continue

Dais Johnston

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