Photo: REUTERS / copyright
After almost a week of blockades, the Canadian police finished clearing this Sunday one of the key bridges on the border with the United States, which had been taken by protesters who oppose mandatory vaccination.
Trucker protests against COVID-vaccine certification to cross the border had brought trade across the Ambassador Bridge in Windsor, Ontario to a standstill.
However, on Friday a judge issued an order to break up the protestalthough dozens of protesters remained defiant.
This Sunday, the police completely cleared the road, although it is still closed, according to BBC journalists at the scene.
what happened on sunday
In a statement, police said Sunday’s action resulted in “several arrests” and that several vehicles were also seized.
The operation began on Saturday morning, when many of the trucks involved they left peacefully by order of the authorities.
But as news of the police action spread, more protesters appeared, temporarily swelling the crowd.
On Sunday morning, however, only a few dozen people remained and the police resumed their operation.
Windsor Police warned people to avoid the bridge area, tweeting: “Operation will continue in the demonstration area and there will be zero tolerance for illegal activity.”
The protest has inspired others around the world to take similar action, in a bid to congest city streets and draw attention, as in France, the Netherlands and New Zealand.
Paris saw hundreds of vehicles converge on the city from across France on Saturday, in a demonstration aimed at disrupting traffic in protest against the use of covid passes to enter bars, restaurants and public spaces.
Hundreds of motorists were fined for the banned protests and dozens of people were arrested amid volleys of tear gas near the Champs-Élysées.
Many protesters also planned a protest in Brussels, home to several key EU institutions, to join a broader European movement based on the Canadian demonstrations.
Brussels has also banned the event.
By Robin Levinson-King, BBC News, Windsor
Police arrived to clear out the remaining protesters in the cold early Sunday morning, ending the blockade that had stopped ground traffic in one of Canada’s most important trade routes for almost a week.
Their numbers had dwindled overnight from hundreds of protesters on Saturday to just around 30 stalwarts willing to brave the overnight -17C temperature.
Police had erected concrete barricades, effectively enclosing their camps, located south of the Ambassador Bridge, and surrounded them with tactical gear.
“No one is doing anything there. We are all standing with our Canadian flags, we want freedom,” protester Tyler Kok told the BBC.
“I heard one of the cops say ‘we’ll be taking the trucks first,’ so I mean it’s like the beginning of the end. I was hoping that it would not end like this, I was hoping that the police would allow us to continue protesting peacefully,” he added.
That protest had already cost the country hundreds of millions of dollars in lost trade.
About a kilometer further on, after dispersing Kok and his friends, the police moved in to take down a second small encampment.
The horns blared in protest, but since the police outnumbered the protesters, their sound was a swan song, not a war cry.
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