For weeks, hundreds of Canadian truckers have parked their 18-wheelers causing gridlock around Ottawa in protest of vaccine mandates. Trucks part of the so-called “Freedom Convoy” have blocked important bridges that connect the U.S. and its northern neighbor and caused traffic jams across the capital. But try as they might, authorities have been unable to move the trucks. Now, Canadian police are threatening mass arrests in the hopes of dispersing the truckers.
In a sternly worded letter released Wednesday, police tried to lay down the law, the New York Post reported.
“The unlawful act of blocking streets in the downtown core is resulting in people being denied the lawful use, enjoyment, and operation of their property,” police said. “You must immediately cease further unlawful activity or you may face charges.”
Police have arrested at least 23 people and written more than 1,300 tickets, the Post notes.
So far, the trucks are staying put. The truckers have spent weeks in the cold to demand that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau lift Canada’s cross-border vaccine mandate. Under that rule, any trucker that crosses into the United States must show proof of vaccination or face a lengthy quarantine to return to Canada. The truckers want that and other COVID-19 mandates lifted before they will leave, the NY Post said. Their stance has sparked similar protests around the world.
Police have threatened to seize the vehicles of anyone who doesn’t comply with their new order. But even if they arrest every trucker, authorities would still be left with a serious problem.
“If you know anything about truck air brakes, once you pull that button, all 18 wheels are locked,” one truck driver involved in the Freedom Convoy told CBC. “Nothing can move it, except maybe a big wrecker. And no wrecker worth his salt is going to come anywhere near this, because they’re on our side.”
Third Major Bridge, Factory Closes Over Freedom Convoy Blocka
As part of the Freedom Convoy, truckers are blocking major thoroughfares between the United States and Canada. On Thursday, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer issued a statement demanding Canada do something to break up the blockades, Fox News reported.
“The blockade is having a significant impact on Michigan’s working families who are just trying to do their jobs. Our communities and automotive, manufacturing, and agriculture businesses are feeling the effects. It’s hitting paychecks and production lines. That is unacceptable,” the governor said.
The Freedom Convoy has partially blocked three major bridges that connect the countries and slowed trade and commerce, Fox said. Ford announced this week it would temporarily close its Windsor, Ontario, engine factory because it can’t get the parts it needs.
PM Trudeau tweeted on Wednesday that the blockades must end, but it’s unclear what the Canadian government can do to stop them. Officials could arrest the truckers, though that could cause problems. Or they could call in the military to force them to move. But Trudeau said he would not consider that option. The quickest outcome will be if the government sits down and works out a compromise with the Freedom Convoy leaders, the CBC said. Though, it’s unclear if the Canadian government is willing to budge on the mandate.