Protesters in Canada disobey an order to lift the border bridge blockage

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.

WINDSOR, ON - FEBRUARY 11: Protestors and supporters take a vote on whether to stay or leave ahead of an impending 7PM injunction deadline at the foot of the Ambassador Bridge, sealing off the flow of commercial traffic over the bridge into Canada from Detroit, on February 11, 2022 in Windsor, Canada.
Protestors and supporters take a vote on whether to stay or leave ahead of an impending 7 p.m. injunction deadline at the foot of the Ambassador Bridge./ Cole Burston/Getty Images
Protesters hold placards as truckers and supporters continue blocking access to the Ambassador Bridge, which connects Detroit and Windsor, in protest against coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine mandates, in Windsor, Ontario, Canada February 11, 2022.
Protesters hold placards as truckers and supporters continue blocking access to the Ambassador Bridge/ REUTERS.
An aerial photo made with a drone looking towards Canada shows the closed Ambassador Bridge over the Detroit River that links the US and Canada .
Protestors are gathered at the Ambassador Bridge between Canada and the US./ Tannen Maury/EPA

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.

Protestors and supporters attend a blockade at the foot of the Ambassador Bridge.
A judge has ordered the protestors off of the Ambassador Bridge after five days of protest. Cole Burston/Getty Images/
The “Freedom Convoy” has been blocking the bridge for five consecutive days. REUTERS/.
Chris Mayville sits in a chair during a protest as truckers and supporters continue blocking access to the Ambassador Bridge
Chris Mayville sits in a chair during a protest as truckers and supporters continue blocking access to the bridge. REUTERS/.

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.

The crowd had been singing the Canadian national anthem.
The crowd had been singing the Canadian national anthem. REUTERS/
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks during a media availability about the ongoing protests in Ottawa, Ontario, and blockades at various Canada-U.S. borders, in West Block on Parliament Hill, in Ottawa, Ontario, on Friday, Feb. 11, 2022. (
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks during a media availability about the ongoing protests in Ottawa, Ontario. AP/.

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.

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