‘Freedom Convoy’ Ends in Windsor, Moves to Paris
The anti-vax-and-other-stuff protest is spreading to Europe.
WaPo (“U.S.-Canada border crossing reopens after six-day blockade by ‘Freedom Convoy’ protesters“):
Canada reopened the Ambassador Bridge, a vital border crossing, on Sunday night after Canadian police cleared the blockade by the self-styled “Freedom Convoy,” which continued to disrupt other cities and trade routes and illegally occupy the country’s capital for a third week.
Minister of Transport Omar Alghabra tweeted his thanks to law enforcement and government officials for their help in ending the six-day closure of the road between Windsor, Ontario, and Detroit, which disrupted U.S. supply chains and millions of dollars in trade.
Detroit International Bridge Co. said in a statement that “the Ambassador Bridge is now fully open allowing the free flow of commerce between the Canada and US economies once again,” according to the Associated Press.
But the appeal of such demonstrations, which have spread across Canada to New Zealand and European capitals, had not let up Sunday. The saga’s developments included a tentative deal that Ottawa’s mayor said he brokered for protesters to be less disruptive, made with a loosely grouped movement without central leadership. Fed-up residents in Ottawa and other cities have started taking matters into their own hands by trying to thwart protesters after disruptions that began more than two weeks ago.
CNN (“‘Freedom Convoy’ protesters enter Paris and block traffic before they’re dispersed with tear gas“):
Protesters in a so-called “Freedom Convoy” made it past police checkpoints in central Paris on Saturday, with demonstrators completely blocking traffic in the French capital before they were met with tear gas fired by officers.
The rallies against France’s Covid-19 vaccine pass follow Canada’s “Freedom Convoy,” which has seen truckers protesting against vaccine mandates, Covid-19 restrictions and the Liberal government of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
Authorities in Paris and Brussels announced a ban on the convoys Thursday, after which 7,200 police officers and gendarmes — French military police — were deployed to various locations across the French capital for three days.
A map produced by the French convoy organizers showed a plan for protesters to come across the country along five main routes toward the city. It also highlights the demonstrators’ plans to then drive north to Brussels, Belgium’s capital.
The protesters largely blocked traffic on Saturday around the Arc de Triomphe junction, and were waving French flags from their trucks and cars.
Jérôme Rodrigues, the former leader of the gilets jaunes (or yellow vests) movement which has recently allied itself with the “Freedom Convoy,” is among those who have been arrested, according to BFMTV.
Paris police said in a statement on Twitter that “no blocking will be tolerated” and officers are also currently working “to disperse participants of banned protests” near the Champs-Élysées.Police said they had already intercepted 500 vehicles as of Saturday morning. Many were intercepted at checkpoints at various entry points to Paris and also on the Champs-Élysées, police said on Twitter. Five people have been arrested and had equipment seized, with fines given for carrying slingshots and protective equipment.
Protesters blocking a public road could face up to two years in prison and a fine of more than $5,000, according to authorities.
Canadian authorities were caught flat-footed by the protests; clearly, French authorities learned and were prepared.
The degree to which these protests are coordinated and promoted by outside agitators and to which they’re an organic “copycat” rallying folks like the “yellow vests” already predisposed to disruption isn’t yet clear. Still, I’m betting that it’s mostly the former.
Correction: In my haste to post something before heading off to work, I over-interpreted the Canadian news. I took the opening of the Ambassador Bridge as the ending of the main protest, which continues.