The busiest US-Canada border crossing reopened Monday after being closed for over a week by protestors opposing COVID-19 restrictions, while a larger protest in the capital, Ottawa, raged on as people grumbled about officials’ failure to regain the streets.
Protests against COVID-19 limitations and other concerns have shut down multiple crossings along the US-Canada border, harming both countries’ industries. Similar convoys were also organized in France, New Zealand, and the Netherlands. Truck convoys may be planned in the United States, according to the Department of Homeland Security.
On Sunday, police in Windsor, Ontario, detained 25 to 30 demonstrators and impounded several automobiles along the Ambassador Bridge, which connects Windsor – and other Canadian automotive factories – to Detroit.
According to a spokesman for bridge owner Detroit International Bridge Co., the bridge reopened to traffic late Sunday night. The bridge is also open, according to Canada Border Services.
Automakers began shutting down or decreasing output after protestors began obstructing bridge access on February 7, at a time when the sector is already dealing with pandemic-related shortages of computer chips and other supply-chain bottlenecks. A quarter of all trade between the two nations passes via this border.
“Today, our national economic crisis at the Ambassador Bridge came to an end,” Windsor Mayor Drew Dilkens remarked.
The demonstration in Ottawa, some 470 kilometres northeast of Windsor, has stopped the city, enraged locals fed up with police inactivity, and increased pressure on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
On Monday morning, Trudeau will meet digitally with the leaders of Canada’s provinces, according to a senior government official. Because they were not authorized to comment publicly, the official spoke on the condition of anonymity.
The city looked to have achieved an agreement in which protestors who have been blocking downtown roadways for more than two weeks would leave residential areas, but those hopes quickly evaporated.
Mayor Jim Watson said Sunday that he would meet with protestors provided they limited their demonstration to an area surrounding Parliament Hill and removed their trucks and other vehicles from residential areas by noon Monday. He read a letter from Tamara Lich, one of the protest’s organizers, in which she stated the participants “agree with your request” to concentrate their efforts on Parliament Hill.
However, Lich subsequently rejected the arrangement in a tweet, writing: “There has been no agreement reached. Put an end to mandates and passports. That’s why we’ve come.”
Residents are “exhausted” and “on edge” as a result of the protests, Watson said in a letter to demonstrators, and he warned that some companies are on the verge of permanent closure owing to the disturbances.
Four activists were detained in Surrey, British Columbia, on Sunday, while officials in Alberta claimed they caught and destroyed three excavators on their way to a border barrier in Coutts.
Major-General Steve Boivin, chief of Canadian Special Operations Forces Command, stated on Sunday that two of his special forces personnel were supporting the Ottawa protests and were being “process of being released” from service. According to Boivin, the behaviour violates the military’s ideals and ethics.