Tensions from protests in Ottawa that were started by truckers opposed to a new vaccine requirement have now spilled over the U.S.-Canada border, with Canadian truckers clogging key routes between the neighboring countries.
On Thursday morning, police in Manitoba province confirmed that the Emerson crossing into North Dakota was “shut down” after a convoy of vehicles and farm equipment blocked traffic heading both north and south.
The “shut down” of the Emerson crossing kicks the number of blocked U.S.-Canadian throughways up to three, amid ongoing protests. As of Thursday morning, two other major ports of entry — the Ambassador Bridge connecting Detroit to Windsor, Ontario, and the Coutts crossing linking Montana to Alberta — have also been closed or partially blocked.
Earlier Thursday, a convoy of trucks with passengers shouting “Freedom!” and “Fake news!” flooded the Ottawa International Airport, prompting traffic disruptions and delays.
In a press release issued Wednesday, police in Ottawa warned that those participating in the so-called “Freedom Convoy” protests blocking the city’s streets “could be arrested without a warrant.”
“The unlawful act of blocking streets in the downtown core is resulting in people being denied the lawful use, enjoyment and operation of their property,” the department wrote. “We are providing you notice that anyone blocking streets or assisting others in the blocking of streets may be committing a criminal offence.”
“You could be arrested without a warrant for this offense if you are a party to the offense or assisting others in the direct or indirect commission in this offense,” it continued.
In addition to multiple road and border crossing closures, the ongoing protests have forced operations by major auto companies to scale back or halt operations as supply chains are disrupted.
On Monday, the mayor of Ottawa declared a state of emergency as big rigs clogged the densely-populated streets around the Parliament building. The protests have featured sustained horn honking, diesel fumes and heckling of the mask-wearing locals.
The so-called “Freedom Convoy of 2022″ protests began nearly two weeks ago in Ottawa by truckers who oppose a new COVID-19 requirement that mandates them to be fully vaccinated upon reentry or face a two-week quarantine. Though the majority of Canadian truckers were already vaccinated, they were previously exempt from entry requirements.
The movement has attracted the attention of America’s far-right with some anti-vax mandate activists and politicians encouraging protesters to shut down this weekend’s Super Bowl.