a judge of Canada ordered on Friday the protesters who are on the Ambassador Bridge, on the border with the United States, to end the blockade that for five days has interrupted the transit of goods between the two countries and has forced the automotive industry on both sides to reduce production.
It is currently unknown when or if the police will be sent to remove the protesters, who parked their pickups and other vehicles in protest against the restrictions imposed in the country by the pandemic.
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Presiding Justice Geoffrey Morawetz of the Ontario Superior Court said during a virtual hearing that the order would be effective from 7 p.m. to give protesters time to leave.
Windsor police immediately warned that anyone blocking streets could be arrested and their vehicles impounded.
Since Monday, drivers, mostly in pickup trucks, have blocked the bridge connecting Windsor to Detroit. Hundreds more truckers have brought downtown Ottawa to a standstill in the past two weeks. In addition, protesters block two other border crossings, in Alberta and Manitoba.
The magistrate’s decision followed a four-and-a-half-hour court hearing in which the city of Windsor and lawyers for auto parts manufacturers argued that the blockade was causing undue economic harm to the city and region.
Supporters of the protesters, some of them truck drivers, argued that a removal order would infringe on their right to peacefully protest vaccination mandates that hinder their ability to earn a living.
The ruling came on a day of rapid developments in which federal, provincial and local officials worked simultaneously on different fronts to try to defuse the crisis with the so-called Freedom Convoy, whose members have been cheered by the right in the United States. including Fox News personalities, Donald Trump and Texas Senator Ted Cruz.
“This illegal activity has to end and will end,” Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau warned hours earlier.
“We have heard them. It’s time to come home,” Trudeau said, warning that “everything is on the table” to end the lockdowns.
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