Reopened Ambassador Bridge sees traffic moving freely as police keep watch

By Noushin Ziafati
THE CANADIAN PRESS

WINDSOR, ONTARIO – Commercial trucks and other vehicles are flowing normally over the reopened Ambassador Bridge today, with police keeping a close watch on the busy international border crossing.

Traffic resumed on the key trade route just before midnight after it was blocked for nearly a week due to a protest against COVID-19 measures on the Canadian side of the bridge linking Windsor, Ont., and Detroit.

Police moved in to clear demonstrators from the foot of the bridge on Sunday, making more than two dozen arrests.

This morning, police cruisers are on standby along a stretch of the roadway leading to the bridge entrance, while certain intersections are blocked off to prevent demonstrators from returning to the foot of the bridge.

A handful of protesters have set up at the corner of an intersection a short distance away from the bridge, carrying Canadian flags and letting out occasional shouts of “freedom.”

Tristan Emond, who has been participating in the demonstration since Friday evening, says the group plans to protest peacefully until an agreement is reached with the Canadian government to re- move COVID-19 restrictions in the country.

Emond says the group plans to move back to their original site to get their message across. It was unclear, however, if the group would be able to return to the foot of the bridge.

Windsor police issued a warning that “enforcement is ongoing” in the area where the earlier protest had blocked the bridge.

“There will be zero tolerance for illegal activity,” the force tweeted.

The Ambassador Bridge sees hundreds of millions of dollars in imports and exports cross it each day, and politicians on both sides of the border had decried the economic impact of the protest that blocked the span.

The chairman of Detroit International Bridge Company, which owns the bridge, called Monday for a plan to protect against similar disruptions in the future.

“We must join together to come up with an actionable plan that will protect and secure all border crossings in the Canada/U.S. corridor and ensure that this kind of disruption to critical infrastructure will never happen again,” Matt Moroun wrote in a statement.

Last week’s protest at the bridge had affected three of Toyota Motor Manufacturing Canada’s production lines, pushed Ford Canada to reduce capacity at its Oakville, Ont., and Windsor plants and curbed manufacturing capacity at Chrysler and Dodge-maker Stellantis and Honda Canada.