Canadian Truckers’ Protest Blocks a Third Passage with the US as Arrests Continue | International

The tension increases in the crisis caused by the protest of truckers in Ottawa, capital of Canada. On the morning of this Thursday, a caravan of demonstrators aboard their vehicles has marched honking their horns and waving Canadian flags towards the nearby international airport, amid cries of “Freedom!” Y “Fake news!”. They have broadcast it live on Facebook for an audience that has reached 11,500 viewers, and then the videos of the protest have been uploaded to YouTube, which has caused traffic jams and enormous delays in a city that has been in chaos for two weeks due to the concentration of Hundreds of drivers protesting the obligation to get vaccinated to cross the border with the United States and other measures designed to contain the pandemic. Shortly after these incidents, the police in the province of Manitoba, to the west of Ontario, have warned of the blockade of a third crossing on the southern border.

This is the Emerson Pass, which joins both countries at the height, on the other side, of North Dakota. The coordinated action of dozens of large vehicles has caused the closure of this international communication channel. Until now, two other gateways, the Ambassador Bridge (which connects Detroit, in the United States, with Windsor) and the Coutts Crossing (between the states of Montana and the Canadian state of Alberta) have suffered a similar fate.

The Ottawa authorities have announced, in an attempt to placate criticism of their inaction in the first few days, that they could make arrests “without the need for a warrant”. “It is a criminal offense to construct, disrupt, or interfere with the legitimate use and enjoyment of property. […]. Blocking streets or assisting others to block them may be criminal conduct,” they said in a statement released Wednesday. “They must immediately cease this illegal activity or they could face the law,” says the letter, titled Ottawa Police message to protesters.

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At the moment, according to data provided by The Washington Post, There have been at least 23 arrests and 80 criminal investigations launched during this crisis. The police have also warned of sabotage of the emergency telephone line. On his Twitter he has posted the following message: “We are aware of a concerted effort to flood [de llamadas] our 911 with matters that are not urgent. That puts lives in danger and is completely unacceptable.”

On the fourteenth day of the protests, the residents of Ottawa have reduced their trips to essential trips, on the recommendation of the authorities. In the city, there have been clashes between protesters and bystanders and business owners, whose patience is at the limit.

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Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, a black beast of the protests for his handling of the pandemic, criticized on Twitter the blockades of border accesses and the riots in the capital, where a state of emergency was declared over the weekend. “They are endangering jobs, impeding trade, threatening the economy and paralyzing our communities,” said Trudeau, who was caught confined by this crisis after announcing that he had been infected with coronavirus at the end of January.

Canada sends 75% of its exports to the United States, and an average of 8,000 trucks cross the Ambassador Bridge every day, about 765 kilometers from Ottawa. Goods worth 323 million dollars (282 million euros) take this route daily, while 80% of the supply of the State of Manitoba crosses through the Emerson pass. Analysts have no doubt that these incidents will further aggravate the shortage crisis that both countries are suffering this winter, as part of a global emergency.

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the self-appointed liberty convoy was summoned in Ottawa on January 28 to oppose the federal government’s rule, adopted on January 15, to require the complete vaccination schedule for Canadian truckers who cross the border of the United States, a country that imposed a similar obligation once week later. The protest has ended up being converted into an amendment to the entirety on public health measures aimed at combating the pandemic. Its organizers insist that they will not cease their efforts until all measures are removed. Authorities in the United States are sending signals these days that obligations of the new pandemic normality, such as indoor masks, are near their end.

The protests have found their echo in places like New Zealand, Australia or France. The Department of Homeland Security leaked this week to some US media a report warning of a possible Ottawa-style sabotage during the Super Bowl, which will paralyze the city of Los Angeles this Sunday. The authorities suspect that a caravan to Washington could leave from there, with an eye on the State of the Union Address, which Joe Biden plans to deliver on March 1.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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