After police stepped in to interrupt the 6-day blockade of a bridge connecting Ontario and Michigan, anti-vaccine mandate truckers were packing up their BBQs and tearing down their tents on Saturday.
Police in Windsor, Ontario, announced shortly after 8 a.m. that they were enforcing a judge’s order to clear the Ambassador Bridge, which was issued Friday night.
According to reporters on the scene, the judge’s order, combined with Ontario Premier Doug Ford’s declaration of a state of emergency, allowed backups from the Ontario Provincial Police and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police to move in, forming a massive police presence, including snipers on rooftops.
According to Sean O’Shea of Canada’s Global News, after the enforcement began, most of the demonstrators left without a fight.
As the police forced demonstrators out, one hardline group swore to keep the line, but others in the middle area of the protest were disassembling their campsite.
The bridge blockade, which began on Monday, blocked around $700,000 worth of goods from crossing the border, forcing Ford and General Motors to shut down production at plants on both sides of the border and causing shortages in certain Canadian supermarkets.
The mood rapidly turned on Saturday, when demonstrators awakened with the light, pledging to keep fighting vaccine mandates and other coronavirus restrictions. Before the police arrived, the protestors spent the morning in small groups, strategizing on how to keep the bumper-to-bumper demonstration going.
It was unclear whether police will use similar tactics in the larger protest that began on Jan 28 about seven hours to the east in Ottawa, Canada’s capital. The Ottawa Citizen reported on Saturday that there are signs of growing anti-vax mandate rallies as well as citizens in the city who are tired of being effectively held captive.
Police set up roadblocks around the city earlier this week in anticipation of a third weekend protest in Toronto.
On the Champs Elysees avenue in Paris, French police sprayed tear gas at demonstrators on Saturday.
Protesters were able to bypass certain police checkpoints in central Paris, impeding traffic around the Arc de Triomphe monument.
For the weekend protests in the City of Light, approximately 7,000 cops were mobilized.