Blockade at Ambassador Bridge international crossing enters 4th day as protesters gain ground

The latest developments:

  • Protesters block only street leading to side entrance to Ambassador Bridge.
  • Prime minister, Ontario premier have late phone call Wednesday about bridge blockade.
  • CBSA says bridge “temporarily closed,” diverts commercial traffic to Blue Water Bridge in Sarnia.
  • Protesters block portion of Highway 402 heading toward Blue Water Bridge, say OPP.
  • Blue Water bridge experiencing three-hour delay for commercial traffic.

A demonstration blocking the Ambassador Bridge in Windsor, Ont., a major trade route between the US and Canada, has entered its fourth day as protesters appear to be gaining ground.

During the first three days, Windsor police were able to keep one side street entrance to the bridge clear for the slow trickle of traffic.

However, overnight Wednesday and early Thursday morning, the protesters moved to block an area of ​​the street, forcing transport trucks and other traffic to a halt in the city’s downtown core. The main artery to the bridge, Huron Church Road, has been blocked since Monday afternoon.

One truck driver told CBC News he has been stuck in city traffic for more than seven hours.

CBC News will witness an increased presence of Ontario Provincial Police at the protest sites in Windsor on Thursday.

‘It was a standoff’

Protester Manbae Singh-Gall was in the first vehicle parked and blocking the road to a side entrance to the bridge Thursday. He said the protesters were able to block the street despite the heavy police presence.

“It was a standoff, but we had grit and spirit, they have salaries,” he said. “If they can run shifts, we can run shifts.”

The west-end Windsor resident said he’s been at the protests since Monday afternoon and his comrades are bringing more supplies.

“I want the right of choice. I don’t mind the vaccine. I don’t like them telling me,” he said, adding he is not vaccinated, but only due to “laziness.”

“My family lives in India. I haven’t been in five years,” he said, adding he couldn’t visit for the last two year due to pandemic restrictions.

When asked what the protesters want, Singh-Gall said, “Negotiation, middle ground, listen to us and we’ll listen to you. Wise words prevail when leaders meet on the trail.”

Bridge access closed, nearest face blocks

There is no access into Canada coming from the US via the Ambassador Bridge, which remains “temporarily closed,” according to the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA).

Officials continue to direct commercial vehicles to the Blue Water Bridge in Sarnia, Ont.,, but a portion of Highway 402 en route to that international crossing has been blocked since Thursday by protesters with farming equipment and other vehicles.

Blue Water Bridge is experiencing major delays, up to three hours, for commercial traffic.

Transport trucks lined a downtown Windsor street late Wednesday night, blocking a road to a side entrance of the Ambassador Bridge. (Mike Evans/CBC)

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Ontario Premier Doug Ford spoke about the protest late Wednesday, sharing tweets following the discussion.

“The blockades in Windsor and Ottawa are endangering jobs, impeding trade, threatening the economy, and obstructing our communities. They must stop. [Premier Doug Ford] tonight — our teams will keep working to support Ontarians and get the situation under control,” Trudeau tweeted.

“We will continue working together to support our police forces as they manage these situations. We both agreed this must come to an end,” said Ford in his tweet.

On Wednesday, Windsor police and Mayor Drew Dilkens requested support from the province, including an additional 100 officers, vehicles and intelligence support.

Protesters seem to have gained ground in the blockade of the Ambassador Bridge. (Elvis Nouemsi Njiké/CBC)

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