A Canadian judge has ordered an end to the blockade on the Ambassador Bridge between the US and Canada. Ontario Supreme Court Justice Geoffrey Moravetz said during a virtual hearing that the order would go into effect at 7 p.m. local time on Friday (1 p.m. Central European Time on Saturday). This will give the protesters enough time to clear the bridge.
bridge still blocked
However, several hours after the deadline, more than 200 protesters remained on the Ambassador Bridge between the US and Canada, refusing to disperse the protest. The so-called “freedom convoy” was originally intended as a protest against mandatory vaccinations for some truck drivers. It has since evolved into a demonstration against the government’s pandemic measures in general.
State of emergency declared in Ottawa
Ottawa’s mayor has already declared a state of emergency due to more than two weeks of protests in the Canadian capital. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau no longer ruled out the possibility of breaking the blockade by force, as they are now having a major impact on the economy in Canada and the United States.
President Joe Biden in a phone call with Trudeau expressed concern over auto plant closures and slowing production, the US presidential office said in a statement. “The two heads of state agreed that the actions of individuals who disrupt travel and trade between our two countries have a significant direct impact on the lives and livelihoods of citizens,” the statement said.
Paris also fears blockade
Protests from Canadian truck drivers have inspired similar convoys in France, New Zealand, Australia and the US. Thousands of people involved in the protest convoy arrived on the outskirts of Paris on Saturday night. Police said hundreds of cars, mobile homes and vans from Lille, Strasbourg, Marseille and other cities across the country stopped at city gates. However, no convoy has entered the capital so far.
Paris police have mobilized 7,200 emergency services to stop the blockade by motorcycles. The prefecture had previously banned a protest event in the capital.
A fine of up to 4,500 euros or imprisonment of up to two years is possible
On Twitter, police showed off their equipment to clear the blockade: they published photos of articulated lorries and trucks armed with cranes or water cannons. Officials said obstructing traffic could result in up to two years in prison and a fine of 4,500 euros.
Continue to Brussels
Among those taking part in the convoy are opponents of vaccination, but there are also those who protested against increased prices and the government in general. Some protesters wanted to intensify general demonstrations against the Corona restrictions in Paris on Saturday. Some even planned to continue to Brussels.