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After nearly a week of blockades, Canadian police finished clearing one of the major bridges on the United States border this Sunday, which had been occupied by protesters opposing mandatory vaccination.
Truck drivers’ protests against certification of the covid vaccine to cross the border had paralyzed trade across the Ambassador Bridge in Windsor, Ontario.
But on Friday a judge issued an order to break up the protestthough dozens of protesters continued to rebel.
This Sunday, police cleared the road completely, although it is still closed, BBC reporters on the ground said.
what happened on sunday?
In a statement, police said Sunday’s action resulted in “several arrests” and several vehicles were also seized.
The operation started on Saturday morning when many of the trucks involved they left peacefully on the orders of the authorities.
But as news of the police action spread, more protesters appeared, temporarily swelling the crowd.
By Sunday morning, however, only a few dozen people were left and the police resumed their operation.
Windsor Police warned people to avoid the bridge area, tweeting: “Operations will continue in the demonstration area and there will be zero tolerance for illegal activity.”
The protest has inspired others around the world to take similar action, in an effort to overload the city’s streets and draw attention, as in France, the Netherlands and New Zealand.
Paris saw hundreds of vehicles from across France converge in the city on Saturday, in a demonstration aimed at disrupting traffic in protest against the use of covid passes to enter bars, restaurants and public areas.
Hundreds of motorists were fined for the banned protests and dozens of people were arrested amid volleys of tear gas near the Champs-Élysées.
Many protesters also planned a protest in Brussels, home to several key EU institutions, to join a wider European movement based on the Canadian demonstrations.
Brussels has also banned the event.
the beginning of the end
By Robin Levinson-King, BBC News, Windsor
Police arrived in the cold early Sunday morning to clear out the remaining protesters and lifted the blockade that had halted ground traffic in the city one of Canada’s major trade routes for almost a week.
Their numbers had dwindled overnight from hundreds of protesters on Saturday to some 30 stalwarts willing to brave the -17C temperature at night.
Police had erected concrete barricades, effectively encircling their camps south of the Ambassador Bridge, and surrounded them with tactical gear.
“Nobody is doing anything there. We are all standing with our Canadian flags, we want freedom,” protester Tyler Kok told the BBC.
“I heard one of the police officers say ‘we’ll take the trucks first’ so I mean it’s like the beginning of the end. I was hoping it wouldn’t end like that, I was hoping the police would allow us to peacefully continue to protest,” he added.
That protest had already cost the country hundreds of millions of dollars in lost trade.
About a kilometer away, after Kok and his friends dispersed, the police advanced to knock down a second small encampment.
The horns blared in protest, but as the police outnumbered the protesters, their sound was a swan song, not a battle cry.
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