Ontario Premier Doug Ford on Friday declared a state of emergency in response to the ongoing blockade at Ambassador Bridge connecting Detroit to Windsor, Ontario, and protests in Ottawa, Ontario, against coronavirus restrictions.
“The Windsor Police & its policing partners have commenced enforcement at and near the Ambassador Bridge,” the Windsor Police Department tweeted Saturday morning. “We urge all demonstrators to act lawfully & peacefully. Commuters are still being asked to avoid the areas affected by the demonstrations at this time.”
A supporter waves a Canadian flag on a hockey stick as police officers enforce an injunction against their demonstration, which has blocked traffic across the Ambassador Bridge by protesters against COVID-19 restrictions, in Windsor, Ont., Saturday, Feb. 12, 2022. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Dozens of police in yellow safety vests moved in on the Ambassador Bridge Saturday to ensure truckers left the area after Ford’s declaration.
Around 11 a.m. Wednesday, Windsor police said enforcement measures were continuing and that “individuals who are located within the demonstration area are subject to arrest.”
“People are advised to immediately vacate the area,” the department tweeted.
A protester yells at police officers as demonstrators prepare to leave in advance of police enforcing an injunction against their demonstration, which has blocked traffic across the Ambassador Bridge by protesters against COVID-19 restrictions, in Windsor, Ont., Saturday, Feb. 12, 2022. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Officers moved into place around 8:45 a.m. local time, directing protesters to clear the bridge, according to the Canadian Broadcast Corporation (CBC). Reporters also noted that police brought several armored vehicles and that law enforcement had formed a blockade.
One protester told FOX 2 Detroit that some demonstrations are “staying” for their “rights,” saying, “[W]e’re not just walking out of here after this.”
“We’ve gone around and policed ourselves. We’ve said there’s no way anybody intends to get violent,” he said.
Another protester told the outlet: “It’ll be peaceful. We’re Canadians, we’re not going to fight the police.”
A supporter holding an American flag cries as police officers enforce an injunction against their demonstration, which has blocked traffic across the Ambassador Bridge by protesters against COVID-19 restrictions, in Windsor, Ont., Saturday, Feb. 12, 2022. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Protesters had stayed on the bridge through Friday evening into Saturday morning, CBC News reported.
“Do you think I care? Do you think I care about a fine?” one protester said, according to the outlet. “I’m going to pay a fine? No. You think I care about their mandates? No. This needs to end.”
Windsor, Ontario, Mayor Drew Dilkens said in a statement Friday he was “disappointed” an injunction had to be sought to get protesters’ “illegal occupation” of the Ambassador Bridge to move.
“I remain hopeful for a peaceful and negotiated resolution to the current blockade,” he said. “Local, regional and national law enforcement will collaborate and coordinate how best to respond to this legal ruling and seek to re-open the Ambassador Bridge. No operational details will be disclosed, to ensure the safety and security of all involved.”
Protestors and supporters at a blockade at the foot of the Ambassador Bridge, sealing off the flow of commercial traffic over the bridge into Canada from Detroit, on February 10, 2022 in Windsor, Canada. (Photo by Cole Burston/Getty Images)
Police in Canada’s capital, where demonstrations have been ongoing for weeks, said protesters needed to move by midnight or face arrests and fines.
Protesters have also blocked two other international border crossings in Manitoba.
The demonstrations have created a shortage of auto parts, forcing General Motors, Ford, Toyota and Honda to close plants or cancel shifts. They could also further supply chain issues.
Fox News’ Emily Zanotti and Brie Stimson contributed to this report.