Currently, the Canadian Capital of Ottawa has been brought to a standstill by the “Freedom Convoy,” a large group of Canadian farmers and truckers who want several COVID-19 restrictions lifted by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. Trudeau said on Monday that “a small crowd of people waving Nazi flags outside won’t make me lift any restrictions,” commenting on the rumored racism and homophobia that supposedly is common among protesters. Protest organizers denied all claims against the protest, saying that “These are all lies meant to demean our cause.” Canadian police have been unable to quell the highly mobile protesters, and as such, the Canadian capital has come to a complete standstill.
Freedom Convoy on Monday inside of Ottawa (BBC)
Freedom Convoy members also blocked the Ambassador Bridge, the most important cross-border bridge from Detroit to Ottawa for 1 day before United States (US) police and Canadian Mountain Police cleared them from the cross-border bridge. The Coutts Border Crossing and Ambassador Bridge are some of the most important connections across the US border and to the city of Detroit. Royal Canadian Mounted Police also tweeted that early Monday the bridge had been reopened for inbound US Traffic at a limited flow rate. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also stated that he was attempting to help the mayor of Windsor, CA (where the Ambassador Bridge has been closed by protesters) clear the bridge from protesters.
Ottawa City Police (OCP) members standing in front of parked semi trucks (CNN)
Residents of Ottawa have complained several times that they are unable to get to work, and due to the Truckers constantly blowing their horns, have had barely any sleep. Canadian Police and Government members have not responded to these complaints, and as it stands nothing has been done to remove the Freedom Convoy from the Capitol city and Canada’s parliament hill. This means that as it currently stands, the Freedom Convoy has gridlocked Ottawa for 2 weeks, and blocked several other major border crossings.
A Protester walks in front of parked Convoy vehicles (Dave Chan/AFP/Getty Images/The Guardian)
There are also fears from the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) that the Super Bowl on Sunday could be disrupted by a ‘blockade’ which will ‘prevent Federal, Local and State law enforcement from reaching the arena the Super bowl is being held in. The idea and thoughts of the Freedom Convoy spreading across the Canadian border to blockade the Super Bowl have spread widely online among thousands of workers and truckers in the United States and California, where the Super Bowls stadium will be located. Transportation to and from the bowl for both workers and fans would likely be majorly impacted by a potential blockade of the roads leading to the SoFi stadium. The Freedom Convoy has seen numerous attempts to pull an Injunction on the Convoy from the Canadian government, but all Injunctions have thus far not passed. The Convoy continues in Ottawa, moving into its third week.