Trucker protests disrupt US-Canada border traffic

By Adrienne Vogt, Meg Wagner and Maureen Chowdhury, CNN

Updated 8:29 p.m. ET, February 10, 2022
8 Posts
Sort byDropdown arrow
1:06 p.m. ET, February 10, 2022

Canadian mayor says both sides of the border are experiencing negative effects from protest

The Ambassador Bridge which connects Detroit and Windsor, Ontario, is seen closed on February 10 from the Detroit side due to trucker-led protests in Canada over Covid-19 mandates.
The Ambassador Bridge which connects Detroit and Windsor, Ontario, is seen closed on February 10 from the Detroit side due to trucker-led protests in Canada over Covid-19 mandates. (Jeff Kowalsky/AFP/Getty Images)

The mayor of Windsor, Canada, which is right across the border from Detroit, Michigan, said the protest blocking the flow of traffic on the Ambassador Bridge that straddles the two cities is financially impacting his city and the whole nation.

"For perspective, we're talking 8,000 to 10,000 trucks a day. ... In terms of dollars and cents, we're talking about $400 million per day that crosses at this location," Mayor Drew Dilkens said to CNN's Kate Bolduan.

"In Windsor, we are the auto capital of Canada. The supply chain on both sides of the border has been built up and is tightly integrated. When the border is closed, there is an immediate reaction because of ... delivery schedules. There is an immediate reaction at plants on both sides of the border," he said.

He added that the economies of both the US and Canada "cannot handle this type of impact" for much longer.

"If the protesters don't leave, there will have to be a path forward. If that means physically removing them ... then we're prepared to do that," he said.

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer called on Canadian authorities to "reopen traffic on the bridge." She said ongoing closures have negatively impacted Michigan’s economy, including the automotive, agriculture and manufacturing sectors. 

Dilkens said there is also a threat of violence in the demonstration, and police have encountered protesters come out of vehicles with tire irons.

"You have people on the ground so committed to this protest that they have expressed themselves and said they're willing to die for this particular protest, so that amps up the temperature on the ground in a different way that requires a different police response," he said.

He said police are trying to negotiate, and officers from other cities have come in to assist. But the group's demands vary widely, from protesting against the government to climate change initiatives to vaccine mandates.

"I would call them a leaderless group and frankly, the requests that these folks have, they are not unified," he said.

7:47 p.m. ET, February 10, 2022

Access to 3 US-Canada border crossings cut off by trucker protest blockades

From CNN's Paul P. Murphy 

Truckers and supporters block access to the Ambassador Bridge in Windsor, Ontario, on February 10.
Truckers and supporters block access to the Ambassador Bridge in Windsor, Ontario, on February 10. (Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press via AP)

Access to at least three US-Canada border crossings in Michigan, North Dakota and Montana have been cut off by trucker protests on the Canadian side of the border.

The three border crossings are:

  • Coutts, Alberta, to Sweet Grass, Montana
  • Emerson, Manitoba, to Pembina, North Dakota
  • The Ambassador Bridge at Detroit and Windsor, Ontario

About the protests: The protests, which began nearly two weeks ago in Ottawa, Canada's capital, were ignited by truckers who oppose the nation's new Covid-19 rule that requires them to be fully vaccinated when crossing the Canadian-US border or face a two-week quarantine. Their "Freedom Convoy" has since drawn others who are resisting Covid-19 preventative measures, including mask mandates, lockdowns and restrictions on gatherings.

12:08 p.m. ET, February 10, 2022

Canadian judge temporarily banned demonstrators in Ottawa from honking their horns

From CNN's Paula Newton, Aya Elamroussi and Paul P. Murphy

For nearly two weeks, Canadian truckers have been protesting a new rule that requires them to be fully vaccinated against Covid-19 or face a two-week quarantine in their homes after they return across the US-Canadian border.

Others have joined to rally against mask mandates, lockdowns, restrictions on gatherings and other Covid-19 preventative efforts in the country.

Some protesters have been so loud that a lawsuit is demanding an end to the deafening honking unleashed by the truckers in downtown Ottawa, Canada's capital, where residents have endured the near-constant noise in their homes.

Zexi Li, who lives within five blocks of protests at Parliament Hill, sued to demand an end to the beeping. Sound levels from the air and train horns are "dangerous and cause permanent damage to the human ear" and cause "significant mental distress, suffering and torment," the lawsuit filed by the 21-year-old says.

Ontario Superior Court Justice Hugh McLean on Monday issued a 10-day injunction that prevents demonstrating truckers on downtown Ottawa streets from using air or train horns. A hearing is set for next Wednesday.

Mayor Jim Watson described the constant honking of large trucks as "tantamount to psychological warfare" and wrote in letters to federal and provincial officials earlier this week that, "People are living in fear and are terrified."

Read more here.

11:26 a.m. ET, February 10, 2022

Another US-Canada border crossing has been shut down by blockade over Covid-19 mandates

From CNN's Paul P. Murphy

The US-Canada border crossing at Emerson, Manitoba, and Pembina, North Dakota, has been shut down by protesters demonstrating against Covid-19 mandates, according to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police in Manitoba. 

RCMP Manitoba spokesperson Sgt. Paul Manaigre confirmed to CNN that the Emerson-Pembina border crossing has been blocked "by semi-trailers as well as with farm equipment."

"We have officers on scene now and are in the process of opening up a dialogue with the organizer," Manaigre said.

CNN reached out to the Alberta government for comment on the blockade but has not received a response.

11:25 a.m. ET, February 10, 2022

Michigan governor urges Canada to "de-escalate" border protests

From CNN’s Paradise Afshar

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is urging Canadian authorities to resolve issues along the Ambassador Bridge, which connects Detroit to Windsor, Canada, and is one of the busiest land border crossings in North America.

“My message is simple: reopen traffic on the bridge,” Whitmer said in a statement. 

While the Ambassador Bridge is not closed to US-bound traffic, “the presence of demonstrators are making it difficult to access the bridge,” Canadian police said in a tweet.

Whitmer said ongoing closures caused by demonstrators opposing Canada’s Covid-19 regulations have negatively impacted Michigan’s economy, including the automotive, agriculture and manufacturing sectors. 

“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,” she said. “It’s hitting paychecks and production lines. That is unacceptable." 

Whitmer said it is “imperative” that officials in Canadian work to “de-escalate this economic blockade.” 

“They must take all necessary and appropriate steps to immediately and safely reopen traffic so we can continue growing our economy, supporting good-paying jobs, and lowering costs for families,” she said. 

12:54 p.m. ET, February 10, 2022

Protesters could impact Super Bowl or State of the Union address, DHS warns

From CNN's Geneva Sands

The exterior of SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, California, is seen on February 8.
The exterior of SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, California, is seen on February 8. (Marcio Jose Sanchez/AP)

The Department of Homeland Security is warning law enforcement across the country that a convoy of truckers protesting Covid-19 vaccine mandates, similar to recent protests in Ottawa, Canada, could soon begin in the US — with the potential to affect Sunday's Super Bowl in the Los Angeles area and cause other disruptions.

A DHS bulletin issued on Tuesday to state and local officials, obtained by CNN, said the agency "has received reports of truck drivers planning to potentially block roads in major metropolitan cities in the United States in protest of, among other things, vaccine mandates for truck drivers."

The DHS warning was first reported by Yahoo News.

"The convoy will potentially begin in California as early as mid-February and arrive in Washington, DC, as late as mid-March, potentially impacting the Super Bowl LVI scheduled for 13 February and the State of the Union Address scheduled for 1 March," the bulletin said.

"While there are currently no indications of planned violence, if hundreds of trucks converge in a major metropolitan city, the potential exists to severely disrupt transportation, federal government operations, commercial facilities, and emergency services through gridlock and potential counterprotests," the bulletin continued.

A DHS spokesperson told CNN in a statement that the department "is tracking reports of a potential convoy that may be planning to travel to several U.S. cities. We have not observed specific calls for violence within the United States associated with this convoy, and are working closely with our federal, state, and local partners to continuously assess the threat environment and keep our communities safe."

Read more here.

11:24 a.m. ET, February 10, 2022

Canadian police tell drivers to find alternate routes to school due to protests against Covid-19 regulations

From CNN’s Paradise Afshar

The Windsor Police Service suggested parents and students seek alternative routes to school Thursday morning because of possible delays caused by protesters near the Ambassador Bridge, which connects Detroit to the Canadian city. 

Windsor Police, which operates out of Ontario, Canada, tweeted that there was a potential for “traffic congestion” near the bridge, which “could result in travel delays for students attending the schools in the nearby areas.”

Protesters have hindered traffic near the Ambassador Bridge for nearly two weeks as a part of ongoing demonstrations against Canada’s Covid-19 regulations. 

While the Ambassador Bridge is not closed to US-bound traffic, “the presence of demonstrators are making it difficult to access the bridge,” police said in a tweet. Truckers are being asked to use the Blue Water Bridge as an alternative route, and commuters are being asked to use the Windsor Tunnel.

The Canada Border Services Agency reported three-hour delays at the Blue Water Bridge on Thursday. The bridge connects Port Huron, Mich., to Sarnia, Canada. 

Windsor Police has also asked residents to stop calling their emergency line for information about the bridge and wait times.

11:19 a.m. ET, February 10, 2022

Protests over Covid-19 mandates disrupt auto production on both sides of US-Canada border

From CNN's Paula Newton and Aya Elamroussi

Canadian truckers clogging key routes between Canada and the US over their opposition to Covid-19 mandates say they're not going anywhere in an act of defiance with rippling effects on both sides of the border.

The protests, which began nearly two weeks ago in Ottawa, Canada's capital, were ignited by truckers who oppose the nation's new Covid-19 rule that requires them to be fully vaccinated when crossing the Canadian-US border or face a two-week quarantine. The so-called freedom convoy has since drawn others who are resisting Covid-19 preventative measures, including, mask mandates, lockdowns and restrictions on gatherings.

In addition to clogging Ottawa's downtown core, demonstrators have been occupying critical roadways between Canada and the US for days, and the impact is already being felt in both nations, with US officials warning that the country could see similar protests soon.

In Windsor, Ontario, Ford's Essex and Annex engine plants halted production Wednesday due to supply challenges caused by the blockade at the Ambassador Bridge — which connects Detroit and Windsor.

Ford also said it ran a reduced schedule today at the Oakville, Ontario, plant, which builds the Ford Edge and Lincoln Nautilus SUVs.

"This interruption on the Detroit/Windsor bridge hurts customers, auto workers, suppliers, communities and companies on both sides of the border that are already two years into parts shortages resulting from the global semiconductor issue, COVID and more," said a statement from Ford. "We hope this situation is resolved quickly because it could have widespread impact on all automakers in the U.S. and Canada."

John D'Agnolo, the president of Unifor Local 200 representing 1,700 workers at Ford's Essex and Annex engine plants, told CNN he's hopeful production can resume Thursday.

"They will run with that they have at the plants, and then they'll have to send the workers home," D'Agnolo said. "We hope the protesters move away from the border. They are really impacting not only our workers but the whole community."

But it doesn't seem that's happening anytime soon.

Read the full story here.