Police in Canada, France Deploy Snipers, Tear Gas Against 'Freedom Convoys'

Police crackdowns against "Freedom Convoy" protests began on Saturday, with authorities working to clear anti-COVID-mandate demonstrators in Canada and France.

The enforcement in Canada focused on the Ambassador Bridge, which connects the city of Windsor, Ontario to Detroit. The bridge was one of the locations focused on by Canadian truckers, who formed a blockade preventing travel across the major economic thoroughfare.

On Saturday morning, reporter Sean O'Shea shared an on-the-ground look at the situation in Windsor on Twitter. At one point, he noted the presence of both "tactical teams" and "snipers on the roof."

O'Shea also noted that many protestors seemed to be putting up little resistance when asked to leave by authorities. "One by one," he tweeted, vehicles were leaving as ordered. One man at the protests, who was described as "hard-core" based on the messages spray-painted on his car, which included "Trump 2024," "No jabs," and "Let's go Brandon," left peacefully.

On Friday, a judge in Canada ordered that the protestors on Ambassador Bridge to disperse. Police warned that anyone still defying the order would be arrested.

"We urge all demonstrators to act lawfully [and] peacefully," police said. "Commuters are still being asked to avoid the areas affected by the demonstrations at this time."

Ontario Premier Doug Ford declared a state of emergency on Friday and committed all available government resources to help end the trucker-driven protests. A poll conducted by Ipsos found that a majority of Canadians disapprove of the protests.

freedom convoy crackdowns
Police in Canada and France took steps to crack down on "Freedom Convoy" protests clogging roadways on Saturday. Above, protestors are seen in Ottawa, Canada. Dave Chan/AFP via Getty Images

In France, the situation was much less mild. Despite a ban on entering Paris, dozens of protestors entered the city and clogged up roads, notably surrounding the Arc de Triomphe monument. In response, police reportedly deployed tear gas against the demonstrators.

"French authorities say demonstrations are one thing, but blocking traffic in the capital is another," France 24 reporter Catherine Norris Trent said. "Clearly the French authorities are very keen to try and avoid a Canada style scenario, where the streets of the capital have been clogged up for weeks."

Police reported on Saturday morning that around 500 cars had been denied entrance to Paris at three different entry points. By midday, roughly 300 tickets had been issued to drivers attempting to circumvent the ban. Police also said that two would-be protestors were arrested in South Paris after being caught in possession of gas cans, knives, and hammers.

Authorities in California are currently keeping tabs on a "Freedom Convoy" inspired plan to disrupt the Super Bowl in Los Angeles on Sunday.