But protest grows in downtown Ottawa
North America’s busiest trade link was being reopened last night as police moved in to clear ‘freedom convoy’ truck protesters after a six-day blockade.
Canadian police made several arrests and cleared vehicles that occupied the Ambassador Bridge in Windsor, Ontario.
The protest began in response to a mandate requiring truck drivers crossing the border to be vaccinated, but has since snowballed into a hugely disruptive demonstration against Covid curbs, jabs, and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
It has choked the supply chain for Detroit’s carmakers, forcing Ford, General Motors and Toyota to cut production.
“Canadian authorities intend to reopen the Ambassador Bridge today after completing necessary safety checks,” White House Homeland Security adviser Liz Sherwood-Randall said in a statement.
The bridge carries about $360 million a day in both directions — 25% of the value of all daily US-Canada trade.
Police moved in to clear and arrest the remaining protesters near the busiest US-Canadian border crossing on Sunday, ending a demonstration against Covid-19 restrictions that has impacted the economies of both nations.
Mr Trudeau has said the protesters are on the “fringe” of society.
Canadians have largely supported the country’s public health measures, and the vast majority of the population is vaccinated. As Omicron cases level off, measures including mask rules and vaccine passports are already being lifted.
Byna 90 per cent of the country’s truckers are fully jabbed and eligible to cross the border, the government says.
The protests have reverberated across the country and beyond, with similar convoys in France, New Zealand and the Netherlands.
In downtown Ottawa, the ranks of protesters swelled to what police said were 4,000 demonstrators by Saturday, and a counter-protest of frustrated Ottawa residents attempting to block the convoy of trucks from entering the city centre emerged on Sunday.
The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report