As of this morning, it appears that the Freedom Convoy blocking the Ambassador Bridge between Ontario and Detroit is no more. Police moved in last night and began arresting the few remaining protesters and removing the last of the vehicles that were stopping traffic from crossing. While the Canadian government is declaring “victory” in the confrontation, the protesters had largely moved on of their own volition. Roughly two dozen arrests were reported and barely a dozen vehicles were towed away or seized. So was this a loss for the truckers who originally fomented the rebellion? Or have they lit a fuse that continues to burn and is quickly spreading around the world? (NY Post)
The busiest US-Canada border bridge that’s been shuttered for days reopened on Sunday night after police cleared protesters who had been demonstrating against COVID-19 restrictions.
By 10 p.m., the Ambassador Bridge – which links Windsor, Ontario and Detroit – was “fully open allowing the free flow of commerce between the Canada and US economies once again,” a spokesperson for Detroit International Bridge Co. told The Associated Press.
Earlier Sunday, more than two dozen people had been peacefully arrested, seven vehicles towed and five seized as officers cleared the last demonstrators who had been blocking the road to the bridge, authorities said.
In one sense, both the Canadian and United States governments got what they wanted. The bridge is once again open and traffic is flowing, allowing commerce between the two countries to resume. I’m sure that we’ll be seeing officials taking a victory lap today because of that.
But the truckers and their supporters likely knew that the point had already been made and there wasn’t much to be gained by remaining. That’s probably why there were so few people available to be arrested when the police arrived in force and only a modest number of vehicles to be removed. The damage – if you want to call it that – had already been done.
Canada has been shown in a very public way to have little regard for the free speech rights of its citizens. Justin Trudeau’s reputation has been sullied after he quickly resorted to force against his own people when they stood up to challenge his authoritarian policies. And governments around the world are now nervously watching the spread of this movement after learning that the blue-collar workers who are so often sneered at or ignored by elite academic types really do hold a lot more power than many people suspected when they’re motivated to action.
Also, as one protester pointed out while being interviewed by a Canadian reporter, the movement that these truckers started has now spread around the world. Freedom Convoys have already shown up across Europe and as far away as Australia and New Zealand. There are still indications that a sizable convoy may be heading to Washington, D.C. this week.
The initial noises coming from the White House make it sound as if Joe Biden hasn’t learned anything from Trudeau’s experience. The Department of Homeland Security is already mobilizing forces intended to stop a similar convoy should one approach the capital. And this is being done to prevent people from speaking out against governmental policies with which they disagree.
No matter how you may personally feel about COVID mandates, that should be disturbing. I still disagree with the tactic of blocking traffic as part of a protest, particularly when it bogs down emergency response vehicles. But consider the American government’s previous responses to other, frequently more violent protests. What was done during the BLM riots over the past two years? Basically, nothing because those riots were launched for politically “acceptable” reasons, at least to the progressive mobs. But if anyone wants to demonstrate against the authoritarian impulses of progressive leaders, they must be stopped. By force, if necessary.
The clearing of the protesters and vehicles from the Ambassador Bridge wasn’t the end of anything. It was the beginning.