Protesters opposed to COVID-19 vaccine mandates and other restrictions have withdrawn their vehicles from a key US-Canada border bridge, though access remained blocked, while other demonstrations continued in cities across Canada.
The tense standoff at the Ambassador Bridge linking Detroit in the United States with Windsor, Ontario, eased somewhat early on Saturday when Canadian police persuaded demonstrators to move the trucks they had used to barricade the entrance to the busy international crossing.
But protesters reconvened nearby to choke off access from the Canadian side late on Saturday, snarling traffic and commerce for a sixth day – about 180 remained late Saturday in the sub-freezing cold.
In the capital, Ottawa, police said they were awaiting more officers before ending what they described as an illegal occupation.
The ranks of protesters swelled to what police estimated was 4,000 demonstrators. The city has seen that on past weekends, and loud music played as people milled about downtown where anti-vaccine demonstrators have been encamped since late January.
The protests have reverberated outside the country, with similarly inspired convoys in France, New Zealand and the Netherlands. In the US, the Department of Homeland Security warned that truck convoys may be in the works there.
Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson declared a state of emergency last week for the capital, where hundreds of trucks remained in front of the Parliament Buildings and demonstrators have set up portable toilets outside the prime minister’s office where Justin Trudeau’s motorcade usually parks.