2nd day of Ambassador Bridge protest halts vehicles from leaving Michigan, limits Windsor to U.S. traffic

The latest developments:

  • Windsor police say one U.S.-bound lane is open, moving very slowly.
  • CBSA says bridge “temporarily closed,” diverts commercial traffic to Blue Water Bridge in Sarnia. 

People protesting pandemic restrictions and lockdowns are preventing vehicles from using the Ambassador Bridge for a second day, with traffic halted from Michigan to Windsor, Ont., and limiting traffic to the U.S. 

The bridge is one of the busiest international land border crossings in Canada and a major route for transport trucks.

On Tuesday, protest cars and trucks are lining Windsor’s Huron Church Road, the main road connecting Highway 401 to the bridge. Police are asking people to avoid the area, which has been clogged since Monday afternoon.

Dozens of vehicles are jamming the area around the bridge in solidarity with convoy protests targeting Ottawa and including other parts of Canada. 

The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) listed the Ambassador Bridge as “temporarily closed” just minutes before midnight Monday, in an update to its website dedicated to border wait times.

Windsor police were able to keep one lane of U.S.-bound traffic open Monday and Tuesday. The lane can be accessed via the Wyandotte Street West entrance, but the flow of traffic is extremely limited. 

Police were directing traffic at a single-lane entrance. No lanes are open to allow vehicles to exit the Ambassador Bridge into Canada. 

It’s not immediately clear why CBSA would deem the bridge as temporarily closed, although one lane is operating slowly. 

Ontario Provincial Police and the CBSA are directing cross-border travellers to use the Windsor-Detroit Tunnel, and  commercial traffic to the Blue Water Bridge in Sarnia, Ont., nearly a two-hour drive away. 

As of 11 a.m. Tuesday, the CBSA reported a delay of one hour and 10 minutes for commercial outbound traffic at the Blue Water Bridge. 

Early Monday afternoon, protesters waving Canadian flags and holding homemade signs began blocking traffic to the bridge in both directions.

Some protesters told CBC News late Monday that they had no plans of leaving. 

“We did the rally Saturday, Sunday; we got here today around one o’clock.… By the looks of it, we’re here to stay,” said Nick Friesen, who is from nearby Leamington, Ont., and had set up a barbecue on Huron Church Road.

Nick Friesen, whose among the protesters, set up a barbecue on Huron Church Road in Windsor on Monday night. (Mike Evans/CBC)

“People who want the vaccine, go get the vaccine,” Friesen said. “I don’t want the vaccine. I’m just out here. We want our lives back. It stops you from doing stuff. I’ve got a family, I’m going to enjoy life. This mask on my face, that’s not how I want my kids to remember me.”

Sam Kovak of Woodslee, Ont., said he was at the protest “for my kids, just to get it back to normal.”

“They haven’t played hockey, it’s been a disaster. Just end, give us back what we need to live again. [Prime Minister Justin] Trudeau, [Ontario Premier] Doug Ford, just listen to us.” 

Kovak said he is frustrated after he and his wife started a business — a hockey training camp that teaches mindfulness — believing COVID-19 restrictions were lifted for good, but couldn’t survive having to close their doors again. 

“I was in Ottawa the past two weekends; all the people I talked to were vaccinated. It’s got nothing to do … just give us our freedom back,” he said. “Now we’re in the exact same position [as] two years ago; my kids are still sitting at home, my wife is still sitting at home.

“We’re sorry, but we have to make a stand.”

Among those affected by the protest Tuesday are two schools on Huron Church Road that are near the bridge, prompting the Windsor-Essex Catholic District School Board to send notices to families. Police are asking students and parents to avoid the road and access the schools from California Avenue. 

“The Windsor police have assured that they have no concerns for student or staff safety at this time,” the school board’s memo reads. “They will have two police officers at the school to assist us with the situation this morning.”

Protesters carry homemade signs on Huron Church Road on Monday. (Mike Evans/CBC)

Protesters who had blocked traffic to the Ambassador Bridge on Monday stayed overnight on Huron Church Road, which feeds the international crossing. (Darrin Di Carlo/CBC)

Truckers and other protesters started blocking Canada-bound traffic on the Ambassador Bridge on Monday. (Mike Evans/CBC)

Truckers and other protestors block traffic in both directions to Windsor’s Ambassador Bridge, linking Canada to Detroit. (Mike Evans/CBC)






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