Despite a court injunction ordering them to go, protesters are still holding a major crossing on Canada’s border with the United States.
The injunction went into force on Friday at 19:00 local time (midnight GMT) to put a stop to days of demonstrations. Truckers are obstructing the Ambassador Bridge, which connects Windsor, Ontario, and Detroit, Michigan.
Protests by truckers protesting Covid restrictions are also taking place at other border crossings and in Ottawa.
The city of Windsor and the Automotive Parts Manufacturers’ Association requested the injunction, claiming that the convoy was costing them up to $50 million ($39 million; £29 million) every day.
Following the court ruling, Windsor Police issued a statement to “make demonstrators clearly aware that it is a criminal offence” A criminal conviction, according to the police, might result in the confiscation of cars and the inability to enter the United States.
Nonetheless, thousands of protesters flying Canadian flags defied the ban and proceeded to occupy the bridge many hours later.
Hundreds of additional demonstrators remain in the streets of Ottawa, the nation’s capital. Anti-vaccine mandate protestors are also blocking two additional border crossings with the United States.
On Friday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau discussed the border blockades with US President Joe Biden.
Mr Trudeau said the two talked about their “shared challenges at the border” with the prime leader vowing rapid steps to reopen commerce.
Mr Trudeau went on to say that he and Mr Biden also addressed the torrent of US phone calls that have inundated Canada’s police emergency call centers, as well as the contributions and help that demonstrators are receiving from Americans.
On Friday, Mr Trudeau addressed Canadians, saying: “If you join the protests because you are fed up with Covid, be aware that you are breaking the law. The ramifications are growing increasingly dire.” You don’t want to lose your license or get a criminal record, all of which might affect your work, income, and even your ability to travel overseas, including to the United States.
“We’ve heard your dissatisfaction with Covid and the safeguards in place to keep people safe. You’ve been heard. It’s time to return home.”
“We are a long way from ever having to call in the military,” the Liberal leader continued, “although we must be prepared for any eventuality.”
Mr Trudeau’s comments came a day after US officials met with their Canadian colleagues, urging them to utilize federal authorities to put a stop to the “Freedom Convoy” rallies. Ontario Premier Doug Ford imposed a state of emergency for the province on Friday, calling the protests unconstitutional.
The ruling strengthens the punishment for obstructing critical infrastructure, making it punishable by up to a year in prison and a fine of up to $100,000.