The blockade continues at the Canada-US border | West Central Daily

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Protesters opposed to COVID-19 vaccination mandates and other restrictions have pulled their vehicles from a key border bridge between the United States and Canada. Yet access remained blocked on Saturday as other protests escalated in cities across Canada, including the capital, where police said they were waiting for more officers before ending what she described as an illegal occupation. The tense clash at the Ambassador Bridge linking Detroit and Windsor, Ontario eased somewhat early in the day when Canadian police persuaded protesters to move the trucks they had used to barricade the entrance to the international crossing very frequented. But protesters gathered nearby – with reinforcements – and were still stifling access on the Canadian side late Saturday, shutting down traffic and commerce for a sixth day. About 180 stayed late Saturday in the freezing cold. In Ottawa, the ranks of protesters swelled to what police said were 4,000 protesters. The city has seen this for the past weekend, and loud music played as people crowded downtown where anti-vaccine protesters had camped since late January. Early Saturday evening, crews lined concrete traffic barricades behind a line of police that stretched across the main road leading to the foot of the Ambassador Bridge in Windsor. The officers then retreated behind the barricades that separated them from the protesters. Barricades were also placed along some side streets. Police vehicles had been parked on these streets, preventing motor vehicles from entering the highway. Protests on the bridge, in Ottawa and elsewhere, have reverberated outside the country, with similarly inspired convoys in France, New Zealand and the Netherlands, and the US Department of Homeland Security warned that truck convoys could be in preparation in the United States. A former cabinet minister in Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government has taken the unusual step of calling out his former federal colleagues as well as the province and city for failing to end the protests. “Amazingly, it’s not just Ottawa. It’s the nation’s capital,” Catherine McKenna tweeted. “But no one – not the city, not the province, not the federal government can seem to organize to end this illegal occupation. It’s appalling. … Gather together. Now.” Trudeau has so far rejected calls to use the military. “The Prime Minister has emphasized that border crossings cannot and will not remain closed and that all options are on the table,” Trudeau’s office said in a statement late Saturday after meeting with senior officials. Trudeau called the protesters a “fringe” of Canadian society, and federal and provincial leaders say they can’t order the police what to do. “Security concerns – stemming from the aggressive and unlawful behavior of many protesters – limit law enforcement capabilities,” Ottawa police said in a statement late Saturday. Ottawa police said a joint command center has now been set up with the Ontario Provincial Police and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. Police earlier issued a statement calling the protest an illegal occupation and saying they were waiting for “reinforcements” from the police before implementing a plan to end the protests. Australian Associated Press

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