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A vital US-Canadian border crossing reopens after trucker blockade of Ambassador Bridge is cleared

The standoff at the bridge, which links Detroit and Windsor, Ontario, had paralyzed traffic between the US and Canada and crippled a key trade route for both countries.
“The Detroit International Bridge Company is pleased to announce that the Ambassador Bridge is now fully open allowing the free flow of commerce between the Canada and US economies once again. This action follows a state of emergency declared in Ontario and an injunction granted by an Ontario judge which took effect Friday,” the company said in a statement Sunday night.
Windsor Police earlier started arresting protesters blocking the bridge. Windsor Police Chief Pamela Mizuno said Sunday afternoon that up to 30 protesters had been arrested, most of whom were charged with “criminal mischief.”
Windsor police also seized five vehicles from protesters Sunday, Mizuno said, and seven vehicles were towed Saturday. Police expect to have a heightened presence in the area to maintain order, the chief said.
Why the Ambassador Bridge is crucial to two nations' economies
“Let me be crystal clear: it is illegal and punishable to block and impede the movement of goods, people and services along critical infrastructure,” Ontario Premier Doug Ford tweeted Sunday. “Fines for noncompliance will be severe, with a maximum penalty of $100,000 and up to a year imprisonment.”
Police started detaining protesters after a judge ordered them to leave the Ambassador Bridge by 7 p.m. Friday. Some protesters moved away on their own as police approached Saturday morning.
The protest at the bridge stemmed from truckers opposing Canada’s new mandate requiring them to either be fully vaccinated when crossing the Canadian-US border or face a two-week quarantine.
But the truckers’ “Freedom Convoy,” which moved into the Canadian capital of Ottawa late last month, has expanded and drawn supporters resisting other Covid-19 prevention measures, including mask mandates, lockdowns and restrictions on gatherings.
Canada has one of the highest vaccination rates in the world, with about 4 in every 5 Canadians fully vaccinated, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. And nearly 90% of the country’s truckers are fully vaccinated and eligible to cross the border, according to the Canadian government.
Workers in Michigan could lose up to $51 million in wages in a week because of trucker protest, group estimates
The mayor of Windsor said Sunday the economic fallout from the blockade was ending.
“Today, our national economic crisis at the Ambassador bridge came to an end,” Mayor Drew Dilkens said in a written statement Sunday.
Meanwhile, Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson announced Sunday he reached an agreement with organizers to exit residential areas of the capital’s downtown core and restrict their demonstrations to streets directly in front of Canada’s national parliament.
Watson recognized this was not a long-term solution but told city councilors in a statement provided to CNN “it represents a positive first step.”
In a letter provided to CNN from the mayor’s office, Tamara Lich, one of the “Freedom Convoy” organizers, wrote while some residents have supported and encouraged them, she realized others have been disturbed.
“We will be working hard over the next 24 hours to get buy in from the truckers,” Lich wrote in the letter addressed to Watson. “We hope to start repositioning our trucks on Monday,” Lich wrote.
Trucks with Canadian flags drive by anti-vaccine mandate and anti-government protesters Saturday in Surrey, British Columbia, near the border with Washington state.
Protesters have also used semitrailers — and sometimes farm equipment and other vehicles — to block border crossings between Emerson, Manitoba, and Pembina, North Dakota, as well as at the Coutts access point between Alberta and Montana.
And about 50 vehicles have blocked access to the Canadian-US border at Emerson since Thursday, the Manitoba Royal Canadian Mounted Police said Saturday.
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