Members of the disruptive anti-vax trucker “freedom convoy” in Canada have blocked the busiest border crossing in North America.
On Monday night, demonstrators paralyzed vehicles moving in both directions along the Ambassador Bridge connecting Windsor, Ontario, to Detroit. The Ambassador Bridge crossing is the single busiest international land crossing in North America, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation, and is responsible for about $100 billion in trade between Canada and the U.S. The blockade was still active on Tuesday morning, but U.S.-bound drivers were able to move through.
Ontario Provincial Police have encouraged people who need to cross to take an alternative route, and the Canadian Border Services Agency told CBC that transport trucks should consider re-entering Canada at Sarnia, 155 kilometres away.
They say no arrests have been made, and they continue to monitor the situation.
The owner of the Ambassador Bridge, Matt Moroun, issued a rare statement on Tuesday asking for authorities to intervene. "We recognize that truck drivers are essential workers that work hard to deliver necessities to all of us, and that the Canadian government has done a tremendous job with vaccine rates," Moroun said.
The disruption at the border is related to the “freedom convoy” in Ottawa, where some truckers and their supporters have been camped out for 12 days so far, demanding an end to all COVID-related public health measures. It started out as a protest against COVID-19 vaccine requirements that make it mandatory for truckers crossing the border to be fully vaxxed. Their efforts have since spiraled into a broader protest about all COVID mandates, as well as their disdain for federal politicians like Liberal Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
They say they’re fighting for the freedoms of all Canadians, and yet they’re harassing locals for wearing masks, have gridlocked Ottawa’s downtown core, blared horns and sirens, and waved Nazi and Confederate flags. They have been accused of racism, homophobia, and hate crimes, including allegedly shitting on a property with a Pride flag and flying swastikas.
Convoy supporters are also still blocking the border between Alberta and Montana, at times fully shutting it down. They clogged traffic moving in both directions early last week, with many people and transport trucks stuck for days. Millions of dollars worth of goods were held up at the border.
One trucker previously told VICE World News he had to tack on six hours to his trip to get back into Edmonton after driving into the U.S. to pick up a delivery, and was two days late delivering food to a major grocery store chain. The impasse also made it impossible for some residents of the nearby village, Coutts, to access healthcare and schools.
The protesters eventually opened one lane of traffic, but it appears they’ve gone back and forth: On Tuesday, the border was totally blocked again before reopening. They’ve also blocked roadways in major cities across the country.
Most truckers—about 90 percent—are fully vaccinated and have repeatedly said they don’t feel represented by the fringe group of far-right people protesting in Ottawa and at the border.
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