Canadian police enforce 'zero tolerance' crackdown on protestors as the Freedom Convoy goes international

Canadian police have begun arresting people protesting COVID-19 vaccine mandates on the Ambassador Bridge that connects Canada and the United States.

Windsor police said on Sunday morning that they had already made several arrests and that protesters will face a charge of “mischief” when arrested, per NBC News.

The Windsor Police said, “Enforcement actions continue at the demonstration area” and “there will be zero tolerance for illegal activity.”

Enforcement actions continue at the demonstration area with arrests being made. Vehicles being towed. Please continue avoiding the area.
— Windsor Police (@Windsor Police) 1644758056

Protestors blockaded the Ambassador Bridge in solidarity with the ongoing Freedom Convoy protests opposing Canada’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate.

Are you willing to be arrested?\n\nWe\u2019ll
— Katerina Georgieva (@Katerina Georgieva) 1644756576

The Ambassador Bridge is Canada’s busiest border crossing, and the protests are costing an estimated $392.56 million a day in cross-border transactions.

Gretchen Whitmer, the Governor of Michigan, said in an interview that “The Canadian government has to do whatever it takes to safely and swiftly resolve [the blockade].”

The Ambassador Bridge connects Canada to the state of Michigan, so the blockade impedes the flow of goods to and from Michigan.

The Biden administration has also recently urged the Canadian government to use force to break up the peaceful Freedom Convoy protests.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said that he was working with his country’s Incident Response Group to “make sure municipal, provincial, and federal authorities have what they need to end the blockades and protect public safety.”

I convened the Incident Response Group again today \u2013 we went over the efforts underway to address the illegal blockades and occupations. We\u2019ll continue to make sure municipal, provincial, and federal authorities have what they need to end the blockades and protect public safety.
— Justin Trudeau (@Justin Trudeau) 1644720790

Despite Trudeau’s “nice guy” public persona and popularity among leftwing political circles, it appears that his handling of the Freedom Convoy protests have soured his standing among his constituents.

Trudeau, who already leads a minority coalition in the Canadian government, is receiving dismal poll numbers over his response to the protest. Only 16% of Canadians “want to vote for him because of how he has dealt with the situation.”

The Police Chief of Ottawa, Peter Sloly, told reporters that reinforcements from Canada’s federal government would be necessary to break up the protests citing the Freedom Convoy’s dedication and commitment to protesting.

He said, “This is an entirely sophisticated level of demonstrators. They have the capability to run strong organization here provincially and nationally, and we’re seeing that play out in real-time.”

Despite the Canadian government’s intense crackdown on the Freedom Convoy, the protestors inspired a global movement.

Protests in the vein of the Freedom Convoy have assembled in New Zealand, France, and Austria.

La tension ne retombe pas sur les #ChampsElysees apr\u00e8s plusieurs heures d\u2019incidents.
— Cl\u00e9ment Lanot (@Cl\u00e9ment Lanot) 1644680977

A group calling itself the “USA Trucker Convoy” is purportedly planning a Freedom Convoy-style protest in the United States.

The Department of Homeland Security is monitoring the developing American Freedom Convoy.

TD Bank to hand over $1.4 million in Freedom Convoy funds to court. Police crack down on trucker protest at US border bridge.

The Ontario government and a Canadian bank have set in motion efforts to handcuff the ongoing trucker protests.

Ontario Premier Doug Ford declared a state of emergency on Friday, and demanded that protesters "go home."

"We’re now two weeks into the siege of the city of Ottawa," Ford said at a press conference. "I call it a siege because that’s what it is. It’s an illegal occupation."

"Your right to make a political statement does not outweigh the right of thousands of workers to make a living," Ford added.

Ford threatened, "There will be consequences for these actions, and they will be severe."

The premier's office added that the province will provide additional authority "to consider taking away the personal and commercial licenses of anyone who doesn’t comply."

Also on Friday, Chief Justice Geoffrey Morawetz of the Ontario Superior Court ordered demonstrators against vaccine mandates to cease their protest at the Ambassador bridge, which links Ontario and Michigan. The order went into effect at 7 p.m. on Friday.

The judge's decision was made after a four-hour virtual court hearing, where the city of Windsor and auto parts manufacturers argued that the Ambassador Bridge blockade was causing economic harm to the region.

The order stated: "Defendants and any persons having notice of this Order are hereby restrained and enjoined from impeding or blocking access to the Ambassador Bridge and indirect or direct approaching roadways and access points for ten days from the date of this Order."

Windsor Police said in a statement on Friday, "We are providing notice that anyone blocking streets or assisting others in the blocking of streets may be committing a criminal offense and must immediately cease further unlawful activity or you may face charges. You could be arrested if you are a party to the offense or assisting others in the direct or indirect commission of this offense."

BBC reported, "The order increases the penalty for blocking crucial infrastructure, making an offense punishable by up to a year in jail and C$100,000 in fines."

An hour after the order went into effect, there were more protestors at the bridge "than at any other point this week," according to CityNews Toronto reporter Adrian Ghobrial.

The court ordered injunction at the Ambassador Bridge has kicked in and there\u2019s more protestors here now than at any other point this week. They\u2019re streaming in by the dozens. It\u2019s hard to see police stepping in at this hour with so many people here celebrating, and carrying
— Adrian Ghobrial (@Adrian Ghobrial) 1644628569

Just after 8 a.m. on Saturday, the Windsor Police in Ontario announced: "The Windsor Police & its policing partners have commenced enforcement at and near the Ambassador Bridge. We urge all demonstrators to act lawfully & peacefully. Commuters are still being asked to avoid the areas affected by the demonstrations at this time."

Around 10 a.m., members of the Ontario Provincial Police began and Royal Canadian Mounted Police moved into the Ambassador Bridge area, according to CBC News reporter Thomas Daigle and Global News investigative reporter Sean O'Shea. Authorities warned protesters that they face being arrested for mischief if they continue to block the bridge.

RCMP reinforcements have arrived at the Windsor protest site including officers in military-style gear in the back of the
— Thomas Daigle (@Thomas Daigle) 1644679096
That\u2019s OPP
— \ud835\ude82\ud835\ude8e\u00e1\ud835\ude97 \ud835\ude7e\u2019\ud835\ude82\ud835\ude91\ud835\ude8e\ud835\ude8a Global News (@\ud835\ude82\ud835\ude8e\u00e1\ud835\ude97 \ud835\ude7e\u2019\ud835\ude82\ud835\ude91\ud835\ude8e\ud835\ude8a Global News) 1644678906
Pickup trucks are slowly moving out. The Ambassador Bridge is still far from being reopened but police are pushing protesters further and further
— Thomas Daigle (@Thomas Daigle) 1644682616

Meanwhile in Ottawa, the Freedom Convoy protesters were dealt a huge financial blow on Friday. Canada's Toronto-Dominion Bank is attempting to take nearly $1.4 million in donations that was given to the Freedom Convoy group and hand it over to an Ontario court.

“TD has asked the court to accept the funds, which were raised through crowdfunding and deposited into personal accounts at TD, so they may be managed and distributed in accordance with the intentions of the donors, and/or to be returned to the donors who have requested refunds but whose entitlement to a refund cannot be determined by TD,” TD Bank spokesperson Carla Hindman told CTV.

The bank will reportedly "surrender to an Ontario court the money that had not been refunded by GoFundMe, totaling about $1 million, as well as some $400,000 the group had accepted through direct donations."

Freedom Convoy lawyer Keith Wilson said, "We will be taking expedited legal steps to have the restrictions on the donated funds lifted as soon as possible."

The "Freedom Convoy 2022" crowdfunding campaign raised more than $10 million on GoFundMe before it was shut down and refunded by the fundraising platform.

The Freedom Convoy has pivoted to raising money through a cryptocurrency fundraiser, and has already raised nearly $1 million worth of bitcoin.