By Julio Cesar Rivas
Toronto, Canada, Feb 14 (EFE).- The Canadian government is prepared to use special emergency powers to deal with the demonstrations and blockades the anti-vaccine mandate protesters have been holding for weeks.
On Sunday, emergency preparedness minister Bill Blair said the Canadian authorities were unable to control the situation and that prime minister Justin Trudeau’s government was considering invoking emergency powers, which could see military personnel deployed on the country’s streets.
The last time Canada used the measure was in 1970 when a Quebec-based terror group kidnapped the provincial deputy prime minister and a British diplomat.
Blair’s remarks came after policemen in the Canadian city of Windsor arrested over a dozen people for blocking the Ambassador Bridge, the main land route to the United States, for a week.
“We would like to remind the public that enforcement is continuing in the demonstration area and there will be zero tolerance for illegal activity. The public should avoid the area,” the Windsor police service wrote on Twitter.
But that did not prevent tens of protesters from remaining in the vicinity of the Ambassador Bridge.
The protest began a week ago when dozens of truck drivers blocked access to Ambassador Bridge in support of anti-vaccine protesters, who have occupied downtown Ottawa since the end of January after Canada and the US imposed a mandate requiring cross-border truck drivers to be fully vaccinated.
Lack of action by the police in Windsor allowed drivers to prevent the crossing of goods and people for days, which has had a damaging knock-on effect on supply chains and Canadian and US economies.
Operations to restore order on the bridge, connecting Windsor in Canada and Detroit in the US, began on Saturday morning after a Canadian judge ordered the truck drivers to disperse and the Ontario government to declare a state of emergency.
Meanwhile, blockade of border crossings elsewhere in western and central Canada continues, as well as the occupation in downtown Ottawa, where at least 400 trucks are blocking access to the Canadian parliament. EFE