Police break up remaining protest at Windsor’s Ambassador Bridge

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Officers from multiple police forces advanced on Sunday morning to clear out the remaining protesters and break up a days-long occupation near the Ambassador Bridge border crossing in Windsor, Ont.

“Time to leave,” police said, as they formed a line and prepared to march forward along Huron Church Road, which leads to the international border crossing connecting Windsor with Detroit.

“If you don’t leave, you will be arrested.”

Windsor Mayor Drew Dilkens told CBC’s Rosemary Barton Live on Sunday that he had heard “several” people were arrested on Sunday.

He said that once police have the situation fully under control, the plan will move to figuring out how to properly reopen the roadway to the bridge.

A spokesperson for the Canada Border Services Agency said it was “working collaboratively with law enforcement partners to restore normal border operations at affected ports of entry as quickly as possible.”

Police move together down the street, telling protesters to leave along the way. (Mark Gollom/CBC)

Police make some arrests

A group of protesters opposing COVID-19 public health measures, including vaccine mandates, has been at the bridge since Monday, blocking what is typically Canada’s busiest border crossing. On Friday, the chief justice of the Ontario Superior Court granted an injunction ordering the protesters to clear the bridge by 7 p.m. that night.

Fewer than 30 protesters were there Sunday morning. Police far outnumbered the remaining protesters and most cleared the area after being warned of arrests.

However some arrests were made, including drivers of a few pickup trucks that had remained parked up the street.

“It is what it is,” one man told reporters as he was arrested. “We’re here for our freedom, and this is what we get.”

The man put up no resistance as he was led out of his truck and put in restraints.

“Trust me, I’m not going to fight you,” he told police.

Are you willing to be arrested?<br><br>We’ll see. <a href=”https://t.co/G3joBFF2bn”>pic.twitter.com/G3joBFF2bn</a>

&mdash;@KatGeorgieva

At about 7:45 a.m., dozens of officers began forming a line across Huron Church Road, and minutes later they started their slow advance, telling everyone — both protesters and the media — to move back or face arrest.

In a Sunday morning Twitter post, the Windsor Police Service said it was making more arrests.

“Enforcement actions continue at the demonstration area with arrests being made,” police said. “Vehicles being towed. Please continue avoiding the area.”

Some trucks had also been encamped at the intersection of Tecumseh Street and Huron Church Road. Two officers came by to warn those parked on the street that if they didn’t  leave, they would be arrested.

This man who was blocking the lane with his pick up arrested by police <a href=”https://t.co/rPT1k1g9u4″>pic.twitter.com/rPT1k1g9u4</a>

&mdash;@EMauroCBC

Shortly after, those trucks departed, blaring their horns as they left.

“It’s sad, it’s sad,” said Raymond Miller. “We don’t want to go to  jail.”

He added: “It’s not what we expected. It’s totally mind-blowing. Our charter rights were taken from us.”

On Saturday night, a crowd of defiant anti-mandate demonstrators remained on the street hours after police had moved in to break up the days-long protest and clear some of the blockade.

Fewer than 30 protesters remained on Sunday morning. (Mark Gollom/CBC)

By evening, protesters had gathered just behind the concrete barricades police stretched along Huron Church Road.

The crowd had grown throughout the day, and while more people arrived during the evening, the numbers began to decline. Still, many braved the bitter cold to show continued support for the protest — one of several taking place across Canada against COVID-19 measures.

Windsor police arrested one person on Saturday night — a 27-year-old man charged with “a criminal offence in relation to the demonstration.”

This comes on a weekend of demonstrations, including one near Fort Erie, Ont., near the Peace Bridge, where people blocked lanes on the Queen Elizabeth Way. In Ottawa, protesters have occupied an area of downtown for 16 days.

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