Despite a court ruling ordering them to leave, protesters are still occupying a major crossing on Canada’s border with the United States.
The injunction went into effect on Friday at 19:00 local time (midnight GMT) to put an end to days of protests.
Truckers are obstructing the Ambassador Bridge, which connects Windsor, Ontario, and Detroit, MichiganProtests by truckers against Covid restrictions are also taking place at other border crossings and in Ottawa.
The city of Windsor and the Automotive Parts Manufacturers’ Association filed the injunction, claiming that the convoy was costing them up to $50 million ($39 million; £29 million) per day.
Following the court order, Windsor Police issued a statement to “make demonstrators clearly aware that blocking the border crossing is a criminal offense.”
According to the police, a criminal conviction could result in the seizure of vehicles and the inability to enter the United States.
However, crowds of people waving Canadian flags defied the order and continued to occupy the bridge hours later.
Hundreds of other protesters remain in the heart of Ottawa, the nation’s capital.
Anti-vaccine protesters are also obstructing two other border crossings with the United States.
On Friday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau discussed the border blockades with US President Joe Biden.
Mr. Trudeau said the pair discussed their “shared challenges at the border,” with the prime minister promising quick action to resume trade.
Mr. Trudeau went on to say that he and Mr. Biden also talked about the flood of US phone calls that have flooded police emergency call centers in Canada, as well as the donations and assistance that protesters have received from American citizens.
The protesters at the Ambassador Bridge had a vote less than an hour before the injunction went into effect on Friday.
Do they comply with the court’s order to clear the roads?
Or do they leave their trucks and cars in the park and stand firm?
The vote was clear: they’re not going anywhere, as evidenced by a resounding cry of “Freedom!”
That puts the ball in the hands of law enforcement.
As of 21:00 p.m. local time, no arrests had been made and no fines had been imposed.
The blockade has cost millions of dollars in lost trade every day; during the court proceedings, representatives from the automotive industry, which has several plants in the area and relies on shipping parts across the border, estimated that the Windsor blockade had cost them approximately C$600 million since it began.
The crowd had grown since the afternoon, and the atmosphere had become more festive – pop music blared from the speakers, and a sputtering traffic light created an almost disco-like atmosphere.
In a speech to Canadians on Friday, Mr. Trudeau said: “If you join the protests because you are fed up with Covid, you should be aware that you are breaking the law.
The consequences are becoming increasingly severe.
“You don’t want to lose your license or end up with a criminal record, which will have an impact on your job, livelihood, and even your ability to travel internationally, including to the United States.
“We’ve heard your dissatisfaction with Covid and the safeguards in place to keep people safe.
We’ve heard what you’re saying. It’s time for me to go home.” “We are a long way from ever having to call in the military,” the Liberal leader added, “though, of course, we must be prepared for any eventuality.”
Mr. Trudeau’s remarks come a day after US officials met with their Canadian counterparts to urge them to use federal powers to put an end to the “Freedom Convoy” protests.
Also on Friday, Ontario Premier Doug Ford declared a state of emergency for the province, calling the protests illegal.
The order increases the penalty for obstructing critical infrastructure, making it punishable by up to a year in prison and a C$100,000 fine.