More On: Freedom Convoy
On Friday night, trucker demonstrators in Canada defied a court order to vacate a bridge between Ontario and Michigan, ignoring police warnings that anyone who refused to obey may face fines or jail time.
The throng had thinned considerably by early Saturday, but it was still standing as the party mood escalated. The police were there, but they did not intervene against the protestors.
The so-called "Freedom Convoy," which included hundreds of people and a few dozen trucks, had been blocking traffic from the Ambassador Bridge for five days in protest of COVID-19 mandates, which have forced plant closures and work stoppages in Detroit, Michigan, and Windsor, Ontario, because materials can't cross the border.
Following a four-and-a-half hour hearing in which counsel representing the city of Windsor and auto-parts manufacturers claimed that the demonstration was causing excessive economic damage, Ontario Superior Court Chief Justice Geoffrey Morawetz imposed an injunction. The order took effect at 7 p.m. on Friday.
Windsor police issued an instant warning to individuals taking part in the barricade that they might be arrested or have their cars impounded.
But the demonstrators persisted, with one guy on the bridge seizing a microphone and asking the audience whether they wanted to stay or depart beyond the deadline.
The party opted to remain, and in response to their acclaim, the guy said, "Let's stand tall."
Following that, the throng sung the Canadian national song and yelled "freedom."
According to the CBC, several vehicles left the roadblock willingly in the hours after the order's implementation, but many more stayed, and hundreds of flag-waving demonstrators continued to mill around on foot.
More patrol vehicles gathered around the scene, and police distributed papers indicating that a state of emergency would be declared at midnight, and that anybody who obstructed traffic might face harsh penalties, including up to a year in prison and the loss of their business license.
The throng thinned down as the night progressed, and became euphoric early Saturday morning, with an exuberant young group continuing to block the Ambassador Bridge's entry as they applauded, blared fog horns, rang cowbells, and began an improvised drum circle using gasoline bottles as instruments.
According to a video of the protest-turned-party by the YouTube channel War Campaign, they were still there at 1 a.m. Saturday, despite police warnings of a midnight raid.
The blockade, in which protesters blocked road access with pickup trucks and other vehicles, has resulted in supply shortages, forcing General Motors, Ford, Toyota Honda, and Stellantis to stop factories or cancel shifts.
On a phone discussion with President Biden, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau vowed "rapid action" to restore the bridge.
"We stand for liberty." "We feel that everyone's personal choice about what they inject into their body should be respected," said protester Karen Driedger, 40, of Leamington, Ontario. "We're saying, 'Enough.'" We need to return to normalcy and resume our lives."
As they waited to implement the order, Windsor police requested federal police reinforcements.
Extra police had also been sent to Ottawa, where protestors continued to organize massive protests, blocking traffic. Truckers have also stopped traffic at border crossings in Alberta and Manitoba.