After departing Ottawa, the Canadian capital and the first destination for their anti-vaccine mandate protest, the trucker movement known as the “Freedom Convoy” headed for the U.S. border, establishing a blockade that shut down traffic along one of the busiest commercial bridges between the countries.
The massive procession of trucks created a traffic jam along the Ambassador bridge connecting Windsor, Canada to Detroit, Mich., which facilitates 25 percent of all U.S.-Canada trade. Vehicles were at a standstill as of Monday night. The bridge was closed at about 8 p.m., leaving all the truckers and travelers in its wake stuck, according to Fox 2 Detroit.
“Huron Church Rd. closed off bet. College & Tecumseh Rd W. for all traffic. Avoid the area. We urge those involved not to endanger members of the public, jeopardize public peace or participate in illegal events. Those found committing crimes will be investigated & charged. dg12833,” Windsor police tweeted Monday night.
On Tuesday, Windsor police posted an update that the U.S.-bound lane had been re-opened although still with some congestion. They encouraged people to take a detour via the Windsor-Detroit Tunnel or the Port Huron Blue Water Bridge.
“Congestion continues along Huron Church Rd. Limited traffic is being allowed into U.S through the Ambassador Bridge. Officers are on scene maintaining traffic points, public safety and enforcement. Please avoid the area and use alternate route. Thanks for your patience,” the police said.
Starting in Vancouver, the convoy plans to hit multiple other Canadians spots and continue demonstrations, keeping up the pressure to end the vaccine mandates for cross-border truckers. The movement has sparked spin-offs in other cities both in Canada and the U.S., most notably with farmers forming their own parade of tractors in Toronto.
While the Canadian truckers are determined to stand their ground and resist what they’re calling medical tyranny, their clogging of the roads has not been without consequence. Amid spiraling inflation and a supply chain crisis, the cross-border blockade could exacerbate shipping delays and inventory supply shortages and therefore spiking prices already harming Americans.
Canadian leaders have not received the convoy well, particularly in recent days, with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau slamming those involved Monday for causing gridlock and disturbing citizens in Ottawa.
“Individuals are trying to blockade our economy, our democracy, and our fellow citizens’ daily lives,” Trudeau said. “It has to stop. The people of Ottawa don’t deserve to be harassed in their own neighborhoods.”
After raising nearly $10 million, the convoy’s financial pipeline was suddenly cut off by private crowdfunding platform GoFundMe, which claimed that the truckers had engaged in unruly behavior and violence that violated their terms of service. The company originally promised to refund donors only if requested, adding that the remainder of the funds would be distributed to charities of the Freedom Convoy’s choosing. However, when Florida and Louisiana legislators launched an investigation into GoFundMe, believing such a reimbursement policy to be unlawful, the company backtracked and agreed to refund each donor in full.