Rob Gillis and Corey Williams
WINDZAR, Ontario (AP) – Police arrived to clear and arrest remaining protesters near a key U.S.-Canadian border bridge early Sunday in an attempt to put an end to one of the major demonstrations that erupted in Canada and the world against the 19-C vaccine. mandates and other restrictions.
Windsor police said the arrests and vehicles were towed just after dawn near the Ambassador Bridge, which connects Detroit and Windsor, Ontario, the busiest border crossing on U.S. television footage showing officers detaining protesters.
Only two pickups and less than a dozen protesters blocked the road to the bridge before police entered. After that, police barricades remained, and when the bridge could be opened was not immediately clear.
Police in riot gear stormed a rally on Saturday, removing hundreds of protesters by truck.
In the Ottawa capital, the number of demonstrators has increased to, according to police, 4,000 demonstrators. Last weekend, the city saw this, and loud music was played as people crowded downtown, where anti-vaccine protesters have been stationed since late January.
Protests on the bridge, in Ottawa and elsewhere took place outside the country, with the same inspiration convoys in France, New Zealand and the Netherlands, and the US Department of Homeland Security warned that truck convoys could operate in the United States.
Former Cabinet Minister in the Government of the Prime Minister of Canada Justin Trudeau has taken an unusual step, urging his former federal counterparts as well as the province and the city for not stopping the protests.
“Surprisingly, it’s not just Ottawa. It is the capital of the country, ”Catherine McKenna wrote on Twitter. “But no one – neither the city, nor the province, nor the federal government – seems to be able to unite to end this illegal occupation. It’s awful. … Just get together. Now.
So far, Trudeau has rejected calls to use military force, but said “all options are there” to stop protests that have affected the economy on both sides of the border. Trudeau called the protesters a “country” of Canadian society.
Ottawa police said in a statement Saturday that a joint command center had been set up along with Ontario provincial police and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. They said it would empower law enforcement, which was limited by “security concerns – arising from the aggressive, illegal behavior of many demonstrators – limited police capabilities.”
Earlier, police made a statement in which he called protests illegal occupation and said to reinforcement before implement plan to stop demonstrations.
Last week, Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson declared a state of emergency in the capital, where hundreds of trucks remained in front of the parliament building, and protesters set up portable toilets near the prime minister’s office, where Trudeau’s motorcade is usually parked.
Even after protesters ’cars were removed on Saturday, hundreds more people arrived to support the crowd, and clashed with police in about two blocks, waving flags and shouting. Although there were no visible physical clashes, the crowd still controlled the road to the bridge.
On Friday, a judge ruled to end the blockade of mostly pickups and cars, and Ontario Prime Minister Doug Ford declared a state of emergency, punishable by fines of $ 100,000 and up to one year in prison for illegally blocking roads. bridges, paths and other important infrastructure.
Due to the closure of the bridge, car factories on both sides were forced to close or cut production. The confrontation came at a time when the industry is already struggling to maintain production amid a shortage of computer chips and other disruptions in supply chains caused by the pandemic.
In Ottawa, 31-year-old Stephanie Ravensbergen said she supported her aunt and uncle, who parked in the streets from the beginning. She opposed the demands for vaccines and masks and said it was important for students to see the faces and emotions of their friends.
“We want the right to choose,” Ravensbergen said. “We want to be entitled to what everyone else can do.”
On the other side of the country, protesters disrupted operations at another border crossing between Surey, British Columbia, and Blaine, Washington, but officials said it was not blocked. Border crossings in Alberta also remained closed.
While protesters condemn the use of vaccines for truckers and other restrictions against COVID-19, many Canadian public health measures, such as mask rules and vaccine passports for entry to restaurants and theaters, are already receding as the Omicron surge decreases.
The restrictions on the pandemic were much tougher there than in the United States, but Canadians largely supported them. The vast majority of Canadians are vaccinated, and the death rate from COVID-19 is one-third higher than in the United States.
The homeowner reported from Windsor and Gillis from Toronto. Associated Press writer Ted Shafri of Ottawa, Ontario, contributed to this report.