Multiple Arrests as Police Clear Canadian Trucker Protest at Ambassador Bridge

Police in Canada said 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.

The protests—part of a so-called "Freedom Convoy"—began in Ottawa in late January.

Initially organized to oppose vaccine mandates for truckers crossing the border from the U.S., it has since grown into a movement against pandemic restrictions in general and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's government.

Trudeau's office said in a statement on Saturday that "all options are on the table" to resolve the crisis.

The Canadian leader was briefed on efforts to secure other ports of entry and recent further blockades during a meeting with ministers and senior officials.

"Ministers and officials also updated the Prime Minister on their outreach to industry officials, as well as those responsible for critical infrastructure such as airports, ports, and railways, to ensure that they have the resources in place to safeguard against disruptions and further blockades," his office said in a statement.

"The Prime Minister stressed that border crossings cannot, and will not, remain closed, and that all options remain on the table."

More than 4,000 demonstrators were in downtown Ottawa throughout the day on Saturday, police said.

"Safety concerns—arising from aggressive, illegal behaviour by many demonstrators—limited police enforcement capabilities," Ottawa Police said in a statement.

Police added a newly enhanced Integrated Command Centre "will result in a significantly enhanced ability of our police service to respond to the current situation in our city."

Protesters near Ambassador Bridge
Protestors against Covid-19 vaccine mandates block the entrance to the Ambassador Bridge in Windsor, Ontario, Canada, on February 12, 2022. AFP via Getty Images/Jeff Kowalsky