Canadian Trucker Protest Live Updates: Watters Calls Convoy 'Great Awakening,' Hannity Says Gov't Starting 'Fight'

Live Updates
  • A number of protesters of the so-called "Freedom Convoy" are blocking off the Ambassador Bridge, an international crossing connecting Windsor, Ontario to Detroit.
  • The protesters, most of whom are long-haul truckers, are upset about COVID-19 vaccine mandates that have been implemented by the Canadian government.
  • An injunction on Friday ordered all protesters to vacate the bridge by the early evening. However, this did not occur, and the majority of the convoy remains at the bridge.
  • A state of emergency has been declared in Ontario, with law enforcement stating that arrests and the impounding of vehicles will begin at midnight.
  • A number of similar convoys were seen in countries across the world. This includes protests in New Zealand, France, Austria, and Finland, among others.
Truckers Protest Canada
Trucks lined up at the Blue Water Bridge that connects Port Huron, Michigan and Sarnia, Canada in Port Huron, Michigan on February 10, 2022. The Canadian trucker protest has temporarily sidelined a key auto industry transport route, adding stress to a North American car industry already pinched by low inventories and supply chain problems that have sent vehicle price soaring. JEFF KOWALSKY/AP Photo

Multiple Arrests as Police Clear Canadian Trucker Protest at Ambassador Bridge

Police in Canada said Sunday they are arresting protesters opposed to COVID-19 vaccine mandates as they move to clear a key border crossing between the U.S. and Canada.

Arrests were being made and vehicles were being towed at the Ambassador Bridge linking Detroit and Windsor, Ontario, Windsor Police said on Twitter.

"Enforcement will continue in the demonstration area and there will be zero tolerance for illegal activity. The public should avoid the area," the police force added in another tweet.

A group of protesters have been at the bridge since Monday, blocking what is usually Canada's busiest border crossing.

But crowds reportedly started getting smaller on Saturday night. Earlier on Sunday, a 27-year-old man was arrested at Huron Church Road at Millen Street near the bridge for "a criminal offence in relation to the demonstration."

"Officers will intervene when necessary to ensure the safety of the public & maintain peace & order," a police tweet read on Sunday.

Trump on Trucker Protests: U.S. 'Far More of a Tinderbox Than Canada'

Former President Donald Trump suggested that the trucker protests that started in Canada could cause more significant disruptions in the U.S., saying the country is "more of a tinderbox" than its northern neighbor.

During a Saturday morning interview with Fox News, Trump commented on the movement and suggested the U.S. could see an even worse situation. "Freedom Convoys" are now planning to launch related demonstrations in the U.S.

"I see they have Trump signs all over the place and I'm proud that they do," Trump told the hosts of Fox & Friends during a live phone interview. "But that's what happens, you can push people so far and our country is a tinderbox too, don't kid yourself. And there are plenty of [people from] our country up there right now."

The former president continued, saying, "when you look at what's happening in Canada—our country, I think, is far more of a tinderbox than Canada."

Watters calls convoy 'great awakening,' Hannity says gov't starting 'fight'

A number of Fox News personalities have weighed in on the Freedom Convoy protest at the Canadian border.

This includes Jesse Watters, the host of Jesse Watters Primetime, who called the convoy a "great awakening" that was "happening all across North America."

"The establishment is scared," Watters added. "Moms have turned against them, Hispanics are turning against them, now blue-collar workers are turning against them. The great awakening is happening all across North America."

"The continent's best and brightest aren't walking through the halls of Washington or Ottawa," Watters continued. "It's like comedian George Burns once said: 'Too bad all the people who know how to run the country are busy driving taxis and cutting hair.'"

This type of sentiment was echoed by Sean Hannity, the host of Fox's Hannity, who said the government was "starting a fight."

"All hell will break loose...people may die...they're going to what, take their rigs, their livelihoods away from them? They're going to fine them $100,000 each? They're going to put them in jail for a year?"

"To me the answer is obvious, restore freedom, leave the heroes of the pandemic alone," Hannity continued.

Mike Lindell promises 'pillows to all them truckers'

MyPillow founder and conservative activist Mike Lindell praised the protesters of the Freedom Convoy and stated that he would be "shipping up pillows to all them truckers."

"The truckers are gaining. It is working, the people, then they're doing it now on the U.S. side. MyPillow's getting involved," Lindell added.

"I don't know if they'll let us into Canada, but we're gonna try," Lindell continued. "Our voices are getting out there, and things are getting done to get this, to fight the evil. I mean it's just unreal."

Lindell, an outspoken supporter of former President Donald Trump, is most widely known for his numerous conspiracy theories in the wake of the 2020 presidential election. This includes the debunked claim that a number of dead voters played a part in the outcome of that race.

Lindell also stated that he expected a number of groups similar to the Freedom Convoy to pop up in the U.S. He is one of many conservative voices who have advocated for this type of protest in the United States.

Rand Paul backs truckers: 'Civil disobedience is a time honored tradition'

Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.) has stated that the actions of the Freedom Convoy should be considered "civil disobedience," and expressed hope that similar protests would take place in Washington, D.C. and at the upcoming Super Bowl.

"I'm all for it," Paul said during an interview on Friday with the Daily Signal. "Civil disobedience...is a time-honored tradition in our country from slavery to civil rights to you name it. Peaceful protest, clog things up, make people think about the mandates."

Following the interview, many on Twitter mocked the Kentucky senator for expressing his interest in civil rights, noting that he objected to a 2020 bipartisan anti-lynching bill in Congress. Paul claimed at the time that: "We want the bill to be stronger."

As the interview noted, a number of reports have been swirling online that a group of protesters are planning to form a Freedom Convoy-like coalition at Sunday's Super Bowl in Los Angeles. However, Newsweek has reported that this protest, if it occurs, would be regarding a mask mandate rather than vaccines.

"While there are currently no indications of planned violence, if hundreds of trucks converge in a major metropolitan city, the potential exists to severely disrupt transportation, federal government operations, commercial facilities, and emergency services through gridlock and potential counterprotests," a Department of Homeland Security (DHS) memo obtained by USA Today reportedly said.

Canada will stop requiring COVID tests to travel outside country

As the "Freedom Convoy" protesters continue to form a blockade at the Ambassador Bridge, Canadian officials announced that they will no longer require COVID tests for vaccinated Canadians traveling out of the country.

The changes are not official yet, but Canadian Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos said that the new rules will likely go into effect next week. The news comes at Canadian health experts have stated that the worst of the Omicron surge has likely come and gone.

However, the new regulations will apply only to those who are vaccinated, Duclos reiterated. It was noted that foreign nationals and international travelers will still be required to provide a proof of vaccination, with very few exceptions.

Ottawa city solicitor expects court injunction hearing next week

The city solicitor of Ottawa has stated that he expects to have a hearing next week over a court injunction that would reinforce actions against anti-mandate protesters.

"Given the continued violations, legal services is moving to seek extraordinary injunctive relief from the court, as soon as possible," city solicitor Dave White wrote on Friday. "This action is an effort to restrain the observed widespread disregard by many of those involved in the demonstration for the rule of law."

The emergency order increases fines to up to $100,000 for those who continue to block the city's roads, who White says are exhibiting "flagrant and repeated violations" of the law.

This injunction also comes four days after a previous injunction was issued against the truckers in Ottawa due to consistent noise complaints.

Ottawa's city council is expected to hold a meeting on the matter this Monday.

Fundraising site refuses Canadian government's order to freeze funds

A Christian crowdfunding platform has refused an order by the Canadian government to freeze funds to the Freedom Convoy protesters.

GiveSendGo, which describes itself as the "number one Free Christian" crowdfunding platform, tweeted that "Canada has absolutely ZERO jurisdiction over how we manage our funds here at GiveSendGo."

"All funds for EVERY campaign on GiveSendGo flow directly to the recipients of those campaigns, not least of which is The Freedom Convoy campaign," the tweet continued.

It is unclear how much total money has been raised by the platform for the protestors. However, on the GiveSendGo website, a major fundraiser called "adopt a trucker" appears to have raised over CAD$720,000.

Video appears to show officer giving woman 'pre-protest' visit

A video posted to Twitter appears to depict an Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) officer visiting a woman's home to give her information on peaceful protesting. This allegedly occurred after the woman expressed interest on Facebook in going to the "Freedom Convoy" protest.

"This is just some information about peaceful protests, that's all that is," the officer can be heard saying as she hands the woman a leaflet.

When the woman asks the officer if she is monitoring people's Facebook pages, the officer responds that: "Because of the protests happening province-wide, yes, we have been monitoring the protest."

"I'm simply providing you with information about a peaceful protest," the officer continued. "It's just a proactive measure to make sure you understand your rights about peaceful protesting."

There is precedent for police departments monitoring social media accounts, including in Canada. In 2019, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) launched an internal review of its online-monitoring practices, which it says is used to proactively prevent crimes.

1 hour after deadline, crowd of protestors grows

One hour on from the implementation of a legal injunction forcing the truckers at the Ambassador Bridge to disperse, no such thing appears to have happened. Reporters at the scene stated that the crowd has grown in size ever since the deadline passed.

Police have threatened to issue arrests and also impound the vehicles of the truckers if they do not disperse. Officials have said that a state of emergency will be enacted at midnight, at which time arrests are expected to begin for those remaining.

Deadline passes, but truckers refuse to leave

The deadline for the injunction against the "freedom convoy" truckers at the Ambassador Bridge has come and gone. However, the protesters are continuing to block the road and are refusing to leave.

At 7 p.m. ET, the recently signed order from the Ontario Supreme Court legally forced all of the truckers—who are protesting vaccine mandates—to disperse from the bridge, but the truckers stayed regardless. The order was requested by industry officials who stated that the convoy was costing millions of dollars due to delays.

As the truckers remain at the bridge in Windsor, across the river from the U.S. border at Detroit, Canadian law enforcement has warned that they could be subject to arrest. Officials also stated that the protesters' vehicles—which are currently blocking the bridge—could end up being seized.

WXYZ-TV tweeted out a picture of a notice being handed out by Windsor Police. The notice states that arrests will begin after midnight due to an official state of emergency.

Ontario was also considering "taking away personal and commercial (CVOR) licenses from any protestors who do not comply with this order," according to the notice.

Austrian truckers convoy through Vienna in mirror of Canadian protest

As the Canadian "Freedom Convoy" continues to block off the Ambassador Bridge, a number of similar protests are being seen in other countries.

One notable example is occurring in Vienna, where protesters are making their way through the Austrian capital by car. A video of the parade of vehicles, posted to Twitter, states that they were protesting "medical tyranny by globalist governments."

The drivers appear to have been coming from areas across the country, as a previous video, taken earlier in the day, shows cars and trucks first arriving in Vienna.

A small group of supporters appear to be cheering the protestors on, who honk as they drive by.

The convoy reportedly numbered around 3,000 vehicles. Viennese Police ordered a prohibition stopping the convoy, allegedly due to noise and vehicle emission complaints, but the parade of cars was seen driving through the city regardless.

Austria is not the only country where a number of mirror protests are taking place. Similar "freedom convoys" have been seen in New Zealand, France, and other nations, apparently spurred by actions of the Canadian truckers.

'Freedom convoy' truckers vote to remain on bridge, despite injunction

The truckers of the "freedom convoy" have voted to remain at the Ambassador Bridge, despite an injunction that will prevent them from blocking the thoroughfare.

Granted by the Ontario Supreme Court, the injunction is set to go into effect late Friday evening. The Automotive Parts Manufacturers' Association, which had applied for the injunction, have complained that the protestors, who are upset about COVID-19 vaccine mandates, was costing their industry millions of dollars.

Despite this, though, the protesters voted to stay at the bridge approximately 30 minutes before the injunction will be implemented.

In a video posted to Twitter, the protestors can be heard cheering on the blockade and encouraging each other to lock hands. When asked if they would prefer to go home, shouts of "no!" and boos echo from the crowd.

It is unclear if further police action will be taken.

Trudeau has no plans to use the military at this time

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he does not plan deploy the armed forces on the protesters at this time.

Trudeau said the Canadian government never wants to use the army against its own citizens, adding that using military force against civilians "is something to avoid having to do at all costs."

"We are a long way from ever having to call in the military," he said.

That the option would be used only as a "last resort."

"Of course, we have to be ready for any eventuality," Trudeau added. "But it is not something we are seriously contemplating at this time."

"Everything" on the table to end blockades

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says all options are on the table to end the blockade and protests across Canada.

Trudeau urged remaining protestors to return home, otherwise warning of an "increasingly robust police intervention."

"If you joined the protests because you're tired of COVID, you now need to understand that you are breaking laws," Trudeau said during a news conference Friday.

Trudeau warned of more severe consequences, as outlined earlier Friday by Ontario Premier Doug Ford. Those include steep fines, imprisonment, license revocation and ensuring police have tools and power to resolve this situation. Trudeau called Ford's announcement "responsible and necessary."

"You don't want to end up losing your license, end up with a criminal record," Trudeau said.

Though repeatedly pressed, Trudeau said he could not give further detail on specific next steps out of concerns for violence.

"I can't say too much more now as to exactly when or how this ends because unfortunately, we are concerned about violence," Trudeau said.

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police is working with provincial and local police to enforce the law.

"If you're still participating in illegal blockades, you're hurting your neighbors," Trudeau said. "It's time to go home, especially if you have kids with you."

Trudeau promises Biden "quick action'" against protesters

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and U.S. President Joe Biden spoke on the phone Friday to discuss enforcing the law against protesters who have blocked a key U.S. trade corridor and damaged auto production in both nations.

The prime minister said the pair also discussed the American and global influences on the protests, the dangerous U.S.-based flooding of Ottawa's 911 phone lines, the presence of U.S. citizens in the blockades, and the impact of foreign money funding this illegal activity.

"President Biden and I both agree that for the security of the people and the economy, these blockades cannot continue," Prime Minister Trudeau said.

In a statement, the White House confirmed Biden's phone call with Trudeau took place early Friday.

"The two leaders agreed that the actions of the individuals who are obstructing travel and commerce between our two countries are having significant direct impacts on citizens' lives and livelihoods," a White House statement said.

"The Prime Minister promised quick action in enforcing the law, and the President thanked him for the steps he and other Canadian authorities are taking to restore the open passage of bridges to the United States," it added.

Ambassador Bridge remains blocked, Police confirm

Windsor Police confirmed the Ambassador Bridge remains blocked.

This comes after reports that protesters agreed to open one lane of traffic across the bridge Friday morning.

Police advise people to avoid the area as "negotiations remain ongoing."

Police not returning seized items, such as fuel

Friday afternoon, the Ottawa police reiterated in a tweet that they are not returning seized items related to the demonstrations, such as fuel.

"Ottawa Police are not returning seized items associated to the demonstration, such as fuel," the tweet stated.

Toronto Police anticipate weekend protests

The Toronto Police will "scale up" its response in anticipation of protests this weekend.

Police Chief James Ramer said that given intelligence police have acquired, the decision has been made "to scale up operational response" and close off Queen's Park circle.

Toronto Mayor John Tory said the demonstration from the Freedom Convoy "goes way beyond" peaceful protest, calling truckers "illegal occupants."

"Illegal behavior or any actions that threaten public safety cannot be tolerated in the City of Toronto," he said.

Chief Ramer said the intelligence police received is not based merely on social media posts but is "quite robust."

He added that police are aware of misinformation circulating online to make things difficult for police and "deliberately try to tax our resources."

Ramer said the priority of police is to keep emergency routes clear and protect key infrastructure. He said police will allow for "peaceful and respectful" demonstrations in the city this weekend, but will not allow for encampments or for protesters to occupy roadways and cause further traffic disruptions.

"We're going to help them leave," he said, adding that police will "move [convoy] vehicles out of the way."

Following the State of Emergency orders Ontario Premier Doug Ford enacted earlier Friday, Ramer said police will review the orders and apply them to the next series of protests if necessary.

Prime Minister Trudeau to address truckers

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will deliver remarks and answer media questions during a press conference Friday afternoon on Parliament Hill.

Trudeau is calling for an end to the "illegal blockades and occupations" saying they are harming communities, jobs, businesses and the Canadian economy.

The press conference is scheduled to begin at 2 p.m. EST, watch live below:

The latest:

Trudeau met with the President of Unifor Local 444 Friday morning. The large union represents 20,000 members in the automotive, gaming, energy, transportation, administrative, waste and recycle management, policing and retirement living industries.

"I touched base with LOCAL444UNIFOR's Dave Cassidy this morning," Trudeau tweeted.

"We spoke about the illegal blockades that are disrupting supply chains, endangering jobs, and threatening our economy. We'll continue to stand up for workers – and be there to help get this situation under control."

In a series of meetings Thursday night, Trudeau spoke with ministers, officials, Windsor's mayor and opposition parties. Talks revolved around ending the blockades including along the Ambassador Bridge in Windsor.

"We're committed to helping the Mayor and the province get the situation under control – because it is causing real harm to workers and economies on both sides of the border," Trudeau tweeted regarding his meeting with Windsor Mayor Drew Dilkens.

"Our economic momentum is at risk," Governor Whitmer says

In an interview with ABC News, Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer spoke candidly Friday about the economic impact that standstill traffic on the Ambassador bridge is having on the state.

"In Michigan, our economic momentum is at risk because commercial traffic is at a standstill at the Ambassador Bridge and heavily backed up at the Blue Water Bridge," Whitmer said in a tweet.

"I'm continuing to take action to ensure Michigan workers and families are supported," Whitmer added.

Ford urges truckers to "please" take children home

The Ontario government is taking action to end the ongoing demonstrations, as chaos continues in Ottawa and trade is impacted across the US-Canada border.

During a news conference Friday, Ontario Premier Doug Ford implored those still protesting to go home, saying the vast majority of protesters have peacefully made their point and left.

"We cannot have people occupying cities, holding them hostage, holding millions and millions of people hostage to go to their jobs and tens and tens and tens of thousands of people cannot go to their job," Ford said.

Ottawa Police estimated about 100 trucks camped in the city had children living inside.

"To those of you who brought your children, please take them home," Ford implored. "I urge you, it's time to leave."

Supporting truckers:

Ford said at last report, there were five truckers at the Ambassador Bridge and the rest were pedestrian cars.

"99% of the truckers out there right now are working their backs off," Ford said, calling the current situation a political statement.

"I support our truckers... but that is not representative of our truckers."

Impact on trade:

The economy in Ontario is built on trade, including with the United States. Ford said the more than $700 million worth of two-way trade occurs daily across the Ambassador Bridge. Trade has been disrupted all week along the bridge connecting Detroit, Michigan to Canada due to blockades.

"That trade employs hundreds of thousands of Ontarians who work in auto plants and factories across our great province," Ford said.

"Those jobs feed millions of families, they are the lifeline for our province and its economy. And while I appreciate the right to protest, that right cannot and must not extend to cutting off that lifeline."

Ford additionally warned of severe consequences including steep fines and possible license revocation for those who continue to block infrastructure.

Why has it taken so long?

As the demonstrations stretch into a third weekend in Ottawa, residents continue voicing their frustration, fear and confusion about why the situation is still happening. Ford said all actions taken were to ensure a peaceful resolution and allow goods to continue to be traded.

"We're in a critical situation worldwide-- economically," Ford said, listing competing countries in trade. He said those on the Ambassador Bridge must leave "immediately."

"The last thing we need is an anchor around our neck when we're competing."

Judge freezes access to trucker donations

The Ontario government says it has successfully petitioned a court to freeze access to millions of dollars donated through the online fundraising platform GiveSendGo. The funds were supposed to go towards the trucker convoy protests in which demonstrators were opposing COVID-19 restrictions in Ottawa and at several border crossings.

The province obtained an order from the Superior Court of Justice that prohibits anyone from distributing donations made through the website's "Freedom Convoy 2022″ and "Adopt-a-Trucker" campaign pages, said a spokeswoman for Premier Doug Ford.

Ontario's move to freeze access to the donations comes the same day as an all-party House of Commons committee of MPs heard testimony from deputy directors of Canada's financial intelligence hub about how it doesn't cover crowdfunding sites like GoFundMe.

Protesters seem divided on lane opening

There appears to be some disagreement among protesters at Ambassador Bridge over whether to clear a lane of traffic.

One man told the group to "hold the line" and then reportedly moved his truck into the lane that was just opened.

"Hold the line," he said. "We do not give them anything."

The lane was then cleared again, but the bridge remains closed, and protesters still seem divided on what to do next, according to reporters on the scene.

Ford declares state of emergency in Ontario

Ontario Premier Doug Ford declared a state of emergency in the province Friday as protests continue in Ottawa and Windsor.

His announcement comes as demonstrations enter a third weekend in Ottawa, what Ford called a "siege" of the city and "illegal occupation" and ongoing blockades along the Ambassador Bridge.

"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 services along critical infrastructure," Ford said during a press conference Friday morning. The cabinet is scheduled to meet Saturday to review further amendments.

Ford said consequences for noncompliance will be "severe," with fines up to $100,000 and up to one year imprisonment.

Toyota plants feel impact of blockade

Car manufacturer Toyota is feeling the impact of the Canadian trucker protests at its engine plants in West Virginia and Alabama.

"Due to a number of supply chain, severe weather and COVID related challenges, Toyota continues to face shortages affecting production at our North American plants," Toyota said in a statement. "Our teams are closely monitoring the situation and working diligently to minimize the impact on production."

Manufacturing in Ontario, Canada and Kentucky have also been impacted "due to issues related to the Ambassador Bridge blockade."

The company said they expect disruptions through the weekend and will "continue to make adjustments as needed."

"While the situation is fluid and changes frequently, we do not anticipate any impact to employment at this time," the company said.

Protesters open one lane on Ambassador bridge

Protesters in Windsor are clearing one lane for Canada-bound traffic from the Ambassador Bridge.

This comes after protesters initially blocked traffic on the bridge, causing it to be closed for traffic coming from the U.S. all week.

According to CBC News, protesters say the move is a show of their good faith ahead of an expected announcement on the blockade by the Ontario premier and a court hearing on an injunction application.