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Judge grants injunction against Ambassador Bridge blockade

Protesters blocking the Ambassador Bridge had until 7 p.m. Friday to walk out or face arrest after a Superior Court judge granted an injunction to end the occupation that closed the longest border crossing. popular in the country.

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Protesters blocking the Ambassador Bridge had until 7 p.m. Friday to walk out or face arrest after a Superior Court judge granted an injunction to end the occupation that closed the longest border crossing. popular in the country.

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“Obviously, I am pleased that the Court has granted the injunction as a means to help end the unlawful occupation of the Ambassador Bridge,” Windsor Mayor Drew Dilkens said Friday after the ruling. “At the same time, I’m disappointed to have had to come to this. I remain hopeful for a peaceful and negotiated resolution to the current blockade. Local, regional and national law enforcement will collaborate and coordinate how best to respond to this court order and seek to reopen the Ambassador Bridge.

After a virtual hearing on Friday afternoon, Superior Court Judge Geoffrey Morawetz immediately granted the injunction, ruling it would not take effect until hours later at 7 p.m.

“I want an order that is clear. I want an order that will be respected. I want an order that leaves no wiggle room,” Morawetz said.

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The injunction has potentially set the stage for a confrontation between police and protesters who have been occupying access points to North America’s main economic border crossing since Monday.

Minutes after the decision, Windsor Police issued a statement to advise protesters “clearly that it is a criminal offense to obstruct, disrupt or interfere with the lawful use, enjoyment or operation of ‘a property “.

“Vehicles or other property related to an offense may be seized,” police said. “Once a vehicle is seized, it can be detained and, following a conviction, possibly confiscated. Charges and/or convictions related to illegal activity associated with the protest may lead to denial of entry into the United States border.

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The Ontario Provincial Police had already been deployed to help the Windsor Police Service deal with the potentially volatile situation before the hearing even began on Friday.

“We advise that anyone who blocks streets or assists others in blocking streets may be committing a criminal offense and must immediately cease all illegal activity or you could face charges,” Windsor Police said after the ruling. “You could be arrested if you are complicit in the offense or assist others in the direct or indirect commission of this offense.”

A lawyer for the Automotive Parts Manufacturers Association, which initiated the injunction request, said the organization was seeking a “prohibitive injunction”.

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“We call on the parties to cease and desist an unlawful blockade to clear highways and access to and from the Ambassador Bridge,” Mike Wills said.

A lawyer representing the Attorney General of Ontario was among those who requested and were granted admission to the hearing.

“This blockade of the Ambassador Bridge is of interest to all Ontarians,” said Josh Hunter.

The hearing, held on Zoom, was briefly adjourned Friday after its 12 p.m. start because the call reached its limit of 500 people and not everyone who needed it could access it.

The City of Windsor and provincial business leaders first went to court on Thursday hoping to win an injunction giving them more power to end the blockade at the bridge.

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Morawetz adjourned the hearing until Friday to give potential defendants time to be briefed and prepare.

The Automotive Parts Manufacturers Association filed the motion for an injunction to “restrain the named and unnamed defendants from blockading or otherwise impeding access to the Ambassador Bridge in Windsor, Ontario” .

The City of Windsor joined in supporting the motion.

The injunction is essentially a cease and desist type order directed at protesters who have taken over the section of Huron Church Road between Tecumseh Road and the International Bridge. Protesters made their move on Monday, parking passenger vehicles and a few large trucks on Huron Church Road and choking off access to the continent’s most important land border crossing, which carries $400 million in trade every day.

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A makeshift encampment sprouted in front of the bridge’s main entrance over the next few days as protesters dug in with no intention of moving until vaccination mandates and other COVID-19 protocols were lifted.

Protesters also set up camp to block alternative access to the bridge from Wyandotte Street.

“Over the past few weeks, we have all been gripped by the protest activity taking place across Canada,” Dilkens said. “As these protests in Ottawa, Alberta and right here in Windsor have shown, there is a segment of our population that feels left behind as we have collectively fought this virus. To that end, as a nation, it is clear that we have a lot of healing to do, coming out of this public health nightmare. Personally, I hope this healing can begin tonight.

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