By Julio Cesar Rivas
Ottawa, Feb 11 (EFE).- The Canadian government was gearing up Friday to end the blockade of the bridge that is the main land route to the United States by truck drivers opposed to anti-pandemic measures.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau assured US President Joe Biden in a telephone call that the Ambassador Bridge, which links Windsor, Ontario, with Detroit, would be re-opened.
“The border cannot and will not remain closed,” the Liberal told reporters later. “This unlawful activity has to end and it will end. “We heard you. It’s time to go home now.”
“Everything is on the table” for ending the blockades,” Trudeau said, though he responded to a question about bringing in the army by describing that move as “something to avoid at all costs.”
His father, Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau (1919-2000), put tanks on the streets of Montreal in 1970 in response to the kidnapping of a British diplomat by radical Quebec separatists.
Media outlets reported an increased police presence in Windsor late Friday after the chief justice of the Ontario Superior Court ordered the protesters to get off the bridge by 7:00 pm (00:00 GMT Saturday).
Geoffrey Morawetz issued an injunction against the blockade at the request of the city government and the association of auto parts makers, who said that the shutdown was hurting the region’s economy.
People who continue to obstruct the bridge once the injunction takes effect will be subject to arrest and seizure of their vehicles, the Windsor Police Service said in a statement.
A total of six auto plants on either side of the border have been forced to curtail their operations by supply shortages due to the shutdown of the bridge.
One of the automakers affected, Ford Motor Co, decided to ship parts by air to avoid further disruptions.
The Conservative premier of Ontario province, Doug Ford, declared a state of emergency Friday over the bridge blockade and the ongoing occupation of Ottawa – Canada’s capital – by some 400 trucks and hundreds of protesters.
“We’re now two weeks into the siege of Ottawa – I call it a siege because that’s what it is. It’s an illegal occupation,” Ford told a press conference. “This is no longer a protest. With a protest, you peacefully make your point and you go back home.”
Amid press accounts that the occupiers in Ottawa are being advised and aided by military veterans and retired police, an active-duty army officer posted a video Friday urging serving soldiers and cops to revolt against the federal and provincial governments.
“I am calling on my military and police comrades to now stand up and protect your loved ones against this government-forced medical tyranny,” Maj. Stephen Chledowski said.
Canada’s defense department announced that it was investigating the video. EFE jcr-ssa/dr