Middle East

Conflict between Canadian police and protesters continues

Reuters / Windsor (Ontario)

Conflicts between Canadian police and protesters blocking the main bridge to the United States continued yesterday, more than seven hours after authorities moved to end the blockade of a significant trade corridor.
Protesters, who oppose the government’s strict pandemic regulations, have occupied the Ambassador Bridge for five consecutive days, groaning international trade and urging President Joe Biden to end the siege. However, there were still no signs that traffic would resume.
Ambassador Bridge, the busiest border crossing in North America, had been out of traffic for five consecutive days by Saturday afternoon. Approximately 15 trucks, cars and vans blocked traffic in both directions, choking the supply chain of Detroit automakers.
In a Twitter post, Windsor police said, “We urge all demonstrators to act legally and peacefully,” and urged commuters to avoid areas affected by the demonstrators. Police proceedings were filed more than 12 hours after the court order to end the blockade came into effect.
Police in black uniforms in yellow vests moved behind the protesters’ cars, slowly advancing the protesters with police cars and pushing them back from the entrance to the bridge. The number of demonstrators dropped from about 200 on Friday night to about two dozen early yesterday. “We are opening this intersection to traffic. If we do not follow our instructions, we will be arrested,” police told the crowd through speakers.
Protesters were seen returning to a noisy but peaceful hideout and dismantling tents and barbecues. Police successfully pushed the protesters back from the foot of the Ambassador Bridge, but more people were flowing into the area. The “Freedom Convoy” protest, initiated by Canadian truck drivers against the obligation to vaccinate or quarantine cross-border drivers in the capital Ottawa, entered its 16th day yesterday. It turned into a broader protest against the Covid-19 curb, with people joining small cars such as cars, vans and pickup trucks.
Ottawa police said yesterday that they were waiting for reinforcements to end the “illegal occupation.” Ontario Premier Doug declared a state of emergency from midnight on Friday, but demonstrators “showed offensive action against law enforcement agencies,” police said. Ottawa protesters also demolished the fence around the National War Memorial yesterday.
Canadian police said some of the protests were funded by U.S. supporters, and Ontario frozen the funds donated through one U.S. platform, GiveSendGo, on Thursday. The Toronto-Dominion Bank has frozen two private bank accounts with $ 1.4 million ($ 1.1 million) deposited to assist protesters, a spokesman said yesterday.
Protests spread across three borders. The Ambassador Bridge, the strangled trade between the two countries, and the two small intersections of Alberta and Manitoba.
In Canada’s financial capital, Toronto, police blocked the main road leading to the Central Business District prior to the planned protest yesterday. Protests were also planned in Fredericton, New Brunswick. Local police said police were stationed at the city entrance to allow free flow of traffic.
A convoy of US drivers is planning to head to the waterfront in Port Huron, Michigan, to assist Canadian protesters. Another US group said two separate convoys would meet this weekend at another US-Canada cross-border Peace Bridge in Buffalo, New York.

http://www.gulf-times.com/story/709759/Standoff-between-Canada-police-protesters-continue Conflict between Canadian police and protesters continues

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