Canadian vaccine mandate protesters shut down Ambassador Bridge at border

click to enlarge The Ambassador Bridge. - Shutterstock
Shutterstock
The Ambassador Bridge.

A right-wing Canadian protest of COVID-19 vaccine mandates on Monday shut down the Ambassador Bridge at the U.S. border in Detroit, with the bridge remaining inaccessible as of Tuesday afternoon.

The Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) recommended that individual motorists use the tunnel to Windsor rather than the Ambassador Bridge.

Commercial vehicles are being redirected to use the Blue Water Bridge running from Port Huron to Sarnia, Ontario.

The Ambassador Bridge is privately owned by the Moroun family and the state does not control it, but MDOT closed the I-75/M-10 and I-96 ramps to the bridge Monday afternoon to stop traffic from entering it due to the protestors on the other side.

Demonstrations first began more than a week ago by truckers who oppose a mandate requiring drivers entering Canada to either be fully vaccinated or face a testing and quarantine requirement.

Protests have also broken out around Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Ontario – the seat of Canada’s federal government – with some of the protestors reportedly waving Confederate and Nazi flags and saying they want to dissolve Canada’s government.

Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson declared a state of emergency on Sunday to help deal with the protestors, though he did not give details of what measures might be imposed, Reuters reported.

Watson said in a letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau that “what was initially described as a peaceful protest has now turned into a siege of our downtown area.”

Canadian Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino told CBC over the weekend that “we put the question of the vaccines and vaccine mandates on the ballot … and we’re simply carrying out the promise that we made with the support of the vast majority of Canadians.”

While Trudeau called the protestors a “small fringe minority,” they have drawn praise from former President Donald Trump, Tesla CEO Elon Musk, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tx.).

Mendicino responded that “it is certainly not the concern of the Texas attorney general as to how we in Canada go about our daily lives in accordance with the rule of law,” Time reported.

“We need to be vigilant about potential foreign interference,” Mendicino said. “Whatever statements may have been made by some foreign official are neither here nor there. We’re Canadian. We have our own set of laws. We will follow them.”

Reuters reported that police are investigating threats against public figures jointly with the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation and have charged four people with hate crimes.

Some Conservative lawmakers in Canada have met with and taken selfies with the protestors, and the party recently ousted Erin O’Toole as their leader, which Reuters reported was in part because he wasn’t initially supportive enough of the protesters.

Originally published Feb. 8 by Michigan Advance. It is republished here with permission.

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