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Canada police begin clearing protesters blocking key U.S.-Canada



© Reuters. A man reacts as truckers and supporters continue blocking access to the Ambassador Bridge, which connects Detroit and Windsor, in protest against coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine mandates, in Windsor, Ontario, Canada February 11, 2022. REUTERS/Carlo


By Kayla Tarnowski and Carlos Osorio

WINDSOR, Ontario (Reuters) – Canadian police on Saturday began clearing protesters opposing the government’s strict pandemic restrictions who had blocked a key bridge to the United States, snarling international trade and prompting President Joe Biden to call for an end to the siege.

The Ambassador Bridge, North America’s busiest land border crossing, had no traffic flowing for the fifth straight day by Saturday afternoon. About 15 trucks, cars and vans blocked traffic in both directions, choking the supply chain for Detroit’s carmakers.

“We urge all demonstrators to act lawfully & peacefully,” Windsor Police said in a Twitter (NYSE:) post, asking commuters to avoid the areas affected by the demonstrations. The police action came more than 12 hours after a court order to ended the blockade came into effect.

Police in black uniforms with yellow vests moved behind the protesters’ vehicles and, accompanied by police cruisers, slowly advanced on protesters, pushing them back from the bridge entrance. The number of demonstrators had thinned to roughly two dozen early on Saturday from about 200 on Friday night.

“We are opening up this intersection to traffic. If you fail to comply with our instructions you will be arrested,” police told the crowd via a loudspeaker.

Protesters were seen moving back in a noisy but peaceful retreat, dismantling tents and barbecues.

The “Freedom Convoy” protests, started in the capital Ottawa by Canadian truckers opposing a vaccinate-or-quarantine mandate for cross-border drivers, entered its 16th day on Saturday. It has morphed into a wider protest against COVID-19 curbs, with people joining in with smaller vehicles, including cars, vans and pick-up trucks.

Ottawa Police said on Saturday they were waiting for reinforcements to end the “unlawful occupation.” Ontario Premier Doug declared a state of emergency starting Friday midnight, but demonstrators “exhibited aggressive behaviour towards law enforcement,” police said.

Canadian police have said the protests have been partly funded by U.S. supporters and Ontario froze funds donated via one U.S. platform, GiveSendGo, on Thursday.

Toronto-Dominion Bank has frozen two personal bank accounts into which C$1.4 million ($1.1 million) had been deposited in support of the protesters, a spokesperson said on Saturday.


The protests have inspired similar convoys and plans in the United States, France, New Zealand and Australia.

In Paris, French police fired tear gas at demonstrators on the Champs Elysees avenue on Saturday shortly after a convoy carrying protesters against COVID-19 restrictions made it into the capital.

Protests have spread to three…


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