Canadian Judge Orders Protesters To End Blockade

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A Canadian judge on Friday ordered protesters on the Ambassador Bridge at the border between the U.S. and Canada to end their five-day blockade.

Ontario Superior Court Chief Justice Geoffrey Morawetz said during a virtual hearing the order will go into effect at 7 p.m., The Associated Press reported. Police in Windsor, Ontario, warned that demonstrators who continue to block the streets could be subject to arrest and having their vehicles seized.

The province of Ontario declared a state of emergency earlier on Friday as protesters continued to block the crossing, disrupting the flow of goods at the border connecting Windsor and Detroit.

“I will convene Cabinet to use legal authorities to urgently enact orders that will make crystal clear it is illegal and punishable to block and impede the movement of goods, people and service along with critical infrastructure,” Ontario Premier Doug Ford said. He added that protesters violating those orders could face jail time or fines.

As the blockade at the border crossing continued, automakers on Thursday voiced concerns that the protest was causing disruptions in the industry.

“The situation at the Ambassador Bridge, combined with an already fragile supply chain, will bring further hardship to people and industries still struggling to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic,” the automotive manufacturing company Stellantis said in a statement.

The “Freedom Convoy” protests began last month as a movement against COVID-19 protocols and vaccine mandates affecting truck drivers. The demonstrations have since spread to cities around Canada and led to disruptions at three border crossings between the country and the U.S.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said in a series of tweets on Thursday that the protests were causing “real harm.”

“They’re harming the communities they’re taking place in – and they’re hurting jobs, businesses, and our country’s economy,” he said.