Aerial footage shows heavily congested Ambassador Bridge as truck convoy jams US-Canada border
At the border with the US, the Ambassador Bridge that connects Windsor, Ontario, with Detroit was blockaded by trucks in both directions late on Monday and remains at a near standstill.
It is a crucial commercial link between the US and Canada and supply chains already under pressure, it could quickly have a negative economic impact. Car manufacturers including Toyota and Ford have announced issues.
In Ottawa, the hundreds of truckers have remained on the streets for 14 days. Residents are furious at the disruption and police have now threatened protesters with criminal charges and vehicle seizures, and warned convictions could mean no longer being able to cross into the US.
Mayor Jim Watson has asked the federal government to double the size of the police force to address what he called “an aggressive and hateful occupation of our neighbourhoods” an Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said a Monday evening statement that the protestors should go home and do not represent most Canadians.
With access to GoFundMe cut off, the protestors have turned to other sources of funding and have reportedly been thrown a lifeline by a group of libertarian bitcoin evangelists.
Car production ceases amid supply problems
Toyota said on Wednesday it did not expect its plants in Ontario to produce cars for the rest of the week, because of supply problems partly caused by the Covid protests on the Canadian-US border.
“Due to a number of supply chain, severe weather and COVID related challenges, Toyota continues to face shortages affecting production at our North American plants, including Toyota Motor Manufacturing Canada,” the company said.
The company followed Stellantis and Ford who also said production had been affected by supply issues.
Closure of the Ambassador Bridge and Coutts crossings between the US and Canada have caused severe delays with traffic diverted to alternative routes.
White House spokesperson Jen Psaki said on Wednesday “it’s important for everyone in Canada and the United States to understand what the impact of this blockage is – potential impact – on workers, on the supply chain, and that is where we’re most focused.”
Gino Spocchia10 February 2022 11:20
French protest to aim for Brussels, report says
Small groups of drivers set out on Wednesday from France’s south with “Freedom Convoy” stickers one their cars,The Associated Press reported.
Social media posts suggest a “freedom convoy” will descend on the French capital on Friday night and continue on to the European Union’s capital in Brussels on Monday, in a similar way to Canada’s protest.
A vast majority of French adults are vaccinated against Covid and protests have fallen in number since the introduction of a mandate on vaccinations.
A similar situation has been seen in Canada, where protests are well into a second week. Those taking part are demanding an end to all Covid restrictions and vaccination mandates.
Gino Spocchia10 February 2022 10:50
Four day ban on ‘convoy’ style protests in Paris
While France has experienced regular protests against Covid regulations the police department in Paris has announced a ban on road blockades from Friday to Monday.
It comes after a Canada-inspired occupation of the city was threatened by groups opposing Covid vaccination mandates.
Citing “risks of trouble to public order”, the Paris police department banned protests aimed at “blocking the capital” and police will put measures in place to protect roads and detain those who violate the ban, The Associated Press reported.
Gino Spocchia10 February 2022 10:25
DHS warns police of trucker protests in the US
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has warned the police across the country that anti-vax protests — similar to those happening in Canada and New Zealand — might break out in the country.
DHS even warned that the protests might disrupt the Super Bowl or the State of the Union address.
In a memo that DHS officials shared with police partners, it said that DHS “has received reports of truck drivers potentially planning to block roads in major metropolitan cities in the United States in protest of, among other things, vaccine mandates.”
It added: “The convoy will potentially begin in California early as mid-February, potentially impacting the Super Bowl scheduled for 13 February and the State of the Union address scheduled for 1 March.”
It remains unclear how serious the plans for such protests are but the Hill reported that a group called “The People’s Convoy” on Facebook is already scheduling a “March for Freedom Convoy to DC 2022.”
Facebook updates from the organisers say that the truckers will arrive in Coachella Valley in Indio, California on 4 March for a rally “to defeat the unconstitutional mandates.”
Maroosha Muzaffar10 February 2022 10:00
New Zealand police arrest more than 120 anti-vax protesters
New Zealand police on Thursday arrested more than 120 people during an anti-vaccination protest outside the Parliament.
The arrests came soon after Parliament Speaker, Trevor Mallard, decided to close the grounds.
Police called in more than 100 officers from other parts of the country to help quell the protesters, ABC News reported. It said that by the evening, police had arrested more than 120 people and charged many of them with trespassing or obstruction.
Superintendent Corrie Parnell, the Wellington district commander told the media: “Police have appealed repeatedly to protestors to leave the grounds and have begun evicting people from the precinct.”
He added: “While police acknowledge people’s right to protest, this needs to be conducted in a way that does not unfairly impact on the wider public.”
Maroosha Muzaffar10 February 2022 09:15
Canadian police threaten to arrest truckers
Canadian police on Wednesday threatened to arrest the demonstrating truckers as prime minister Justin Trudeau called the protest “unacceptable”.
Mr Trudeau said: “Blockages, illegal demonstrations are unacceptable, and are negatively impacting businesses and manufacturers. We must do everything to bring them to an end.”
Police said in a statement that “we are providing you notice that anyone blocking streets or assisting others in the blocking of streets may be committing a criminal offence”.
“You must immediately cease further unlawful activity or you may face charges,” the statement said.
Maroosha Muzaffar10 February 2022 08:18
White House says Ambassador Bridge blockade ‘poses risk to supply chains’
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said on Wednesday that the Ambassador Bridge blockade poses a risk to supply chains for the US auto industry because the border crossing is such a key conduit from Canada.
Ms Psaki was responding to a question regarding the anti-Covid mandate protests in Canada that have paralysed downtown Ottawa for almost two weeks and led to a near standstill at the crucial crossing between Windsor, Ontario, and Detroit, Michigan.
Oliver O’Connell10 February 2022 04:59
Texas AG investigating GoFundMe for over Canadian truck protest fundraiser
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton’s office has confirmed that he will be investigating GoFundMe for shutting down the fundraiser for the Canadian trucker protest in Ottawa, according to a press release.
Oliver O’Connell10 February 2022 04:00
Bitcoin evangelists throw Canadian trucker protest donation lifeline
Following the decision by GoFundMe to remove the donation campaign for the Canada “Freedom Convoy” trucker protest from its site, a group of Canadian libertarian bitcoin evangelists have thrown the group a lifeline.
Oliver O’Connell10 February 2022 03:00
Meanwhile in the US…
At least 10 people were apprehended at an AMC movie theatre in New York’s Times Square following an anti-vaccine protest, police have said.
The protesters allegedly walked into the AMC Empire 25 movie theatre on Monday night and began to argue with a manager after refusing to show their vaccination status.
Gino Spocchia reports.
Oliver O’Connell10 February 2022 02:00
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