Can protests similar to the Canadian 'Freedom Convoy' happen here? They already are.

A weeklong “Freedom Convoy” trucker protest in Canada that shut down the largest border crossing to the U.S. has inspired trucker protests around the world.

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Including in the United States.

Dozens of vehicles and hundreds of people gathered Saturday and Sunday near the Peace Bridge in Buffalo, New York, that connects with the Ontario city of Fort Erie. The protesters flew American flags, honked horns and carried banners saying “my body my choice” and “do not comply.”

Among the organizers was Convoy to Save America, a group that lavished praise on the Canadian effort.

“We watched the joy spread as everyone came together to stand for the freedom to choose,” Pennie Fay, one of the group’s founders, said in a statement. “Convoy to Save America carries that same message of unity, togetherness, and peace.”

Fay said the group stands together for the right to choose – “no mandates, no mask rules, no more lies.”

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The bridge was not closed, but the demonstrators drew the attention of New York Gov. Kathy Hochul, who visited an interagency command center in Buffalo.

“We’re prepared for any impacts from protests near the Canadian border,” she said. “We are ready to address any potential travel and commerce disruptions and also ensure we can protect everyone’s right to peaceful protest.”

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Another group, the People’s Convoy, is planning a cross-country convoy starting in Los Angeles and ending in Washington, D.C. Dates are expected to be announced as soon as Monday.

Canada’s “freedom convoy” in Windsor, Ontario, shut down the Ambassador Bridge to Detroit. It took several tow trucks and more than a dozen arrests over the weekend before the protest was disbanded and the bridge reopened. 

The protesters, who also have created havoc at the capital in Ottawa for three weeks, say they object to Canada’s COVID-19 rules. Truckers have specifically targeted a mandate requiring drivers entering Canada to be fully vaccinated or face testing and quarantine requirements. 

US-CANADA BRIDGE REOPENS:  Weeklong trucker protest targeted COVID mandates

In western Canada, a major truck border crossing between Surrey, British Columbia, and Blaine, Washington, was closed Sunday after Canadian authorities said a few vehicles had breached police barricades and a crowd entered the area. 

Some U.S. leaders have expressed firm support for the truckers. President Donald Trump said he was proud that many protesters were waving Trump banners. Kentucky Republican Sen. Rand Paul, in an interview with the conservative media site Daily Signal, said he hopes “it would be great” if the protesters “clog up” U.S. cities.

“The thing is, it wouldn’t shut the city down because the government workers haven’t come to work in two years anyway,” Paul joked. “It’d be nice change. We’d actually have some traffic.”

The Canadian protests also inspired convoys and protests around the world.

Hundreds of cars, campervans and trucks taking part in a protest convoy were preparing to enter Brussels on Monday after a weekend protest in Paris that led to almost 100 arrests, France24 reported. Brussels already has banned the protest.

Nightclubs in Amsterdam stayed open Saturday night in solidarity of demonstrations against restrictions there. In New Zealand, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern on Monday accused protesters there of “intimidation and harassment” that has brought chaos to the capital of Wellington for the last week.

“That cannot be tolerated,” she said.

Contributing: The Associated Press

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