Traffic is once again crossing the Canada-U.S. border at the Ambassador Bridge, following a weeklong blockade that led the Ontario government to declare a state of emergency.
Police arrested 25 to 30 people on Sunday, acting on an Ontario Superior Court of Justice injunction issued late Friday afternoon. Traffic resumed just before midnight, according to the Canada Border Services Agency.
“Today, our national economic crisis at the Ambassador Bridge came to an end,” Windsor Mayor Drew Dilkens said in a statement.
“Now we must join together to come up with an actionable plan that will protect and secure all border crossings in the Canada-U.S. corridor and ensure that this kind of disruption to critical infrastructure will never happen again,” said Matt Moroun, chairman of the Detroit International Bridge Company.
“This week has shown the world just how much our shared economies rely on border crossings like the Ambassador Bridge. They are critical pipelines that supply the goods we need to keep our factories going, our neigbors working, and our economies thriving.”
But the challenges surrounding protests against pandemic-related restrictions continue. Protesters continue to block traffic in Coutts, Alta., and Emerson, Man., although police did limit the access of protesters at the Peace Bridge in Fort Erie, Ont. this weekend.
The Ambassador Bridge typically handles more than 7,000 commercial vehicles per day, making it the busiest commercial link between Canada and the U.S. During the blockade, most trucks were diverted about 100 km away to the Bluewater Bridge in Sarnia, where delays lasted four hours or more.
Several automakers and other businesses had to scale back production due to limited parts supplies.
“Ninety-nine percent of the truckers out there right now are working their backs off to put food on our table, to make sure parts get to the factories,” Ontario Premier Doug Ford said Friday, noting that just five trucks were among personal vehicles blocking the Ambassador Bridge. “That [protest] is not representative of our truckers.”
With the state of emergency, Ontario introduced penalties including potential fines of up to $100,000, up to a year in jail, and licence seizures.
Close to 400 trucks continue to occupy downtown Ottawa in a protest now entering its third week.
More than 4,000 demonstrators were in the capital on Saturday alone, and counter protesters blocked some Freedom Convoy protesters as they tried to enter the downtown area. Police said aggressive and illegal behavior limited enforcement capabilities, but added that they managed a 300-vehicle convoy and a separate 20-km convoy of cars from Quebec on the weekend.
Ottawa’s Police Chief Peter Sloly has said the city will need 1,800 officers to address the occupation. This weekend, the police service joined Ontario Provincial Police and RCMP in establishing an integrated command center.
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