Speaking at a press conference on Wednesday, Mayor Drew Dilkens said “law enforcement successfully intercepted the convoy before they were able to install themselves in our city.”
Windsor Police Chief Pam Mizuno said six to seven transport trucks were spotted travelling westbound on Highway 401, approximately 250 km from Windsor.
“It was learned that this convoy had travelled from Ottawa and is suspected that this convoy was heading to Windsor,” she told reporters.
She said the convoy has “since circled back, travelling eastbound on the 401.”
“There is a broader plan in place to protect our border, ensuring that there are no further interruptions and to protect public safety,” Mizuno said.
Asked by reporters why the members of the convoy were turned around by police, Windsor Police Deputy Chief Jason Bellair said the protesters “said they were just going to go in the other direction.”
“It was a simple interaction between the officers who were there,” he said. “They were about 250 km outside of Windsor, they said they’re heading to Ottawa. Which you can’t get to, I guess, by westbound 401.
“So they turned around and they went the other way.”
Dilkens said the bridge, which connects Windsor and Detroit, is responsible for around $400 million of trade between Canada and the U.S. “each way each and every single day.”
“Up to 10,000 trucks travel across this corridor daily, representing about 30 per cent of all commercial trade between Canada and the United States,” he said.
“And we cannot, and will not allow another illegal occupation.”
Ambassador Bridge reopens with heavy police presence after protesters cleared
While Mizuno said traffic resumed across the international border at the Ambassador Bridge at midnight on Feb. 13, regular traffic has not been restored along Huron Church Road.
“As we find ourselves immersed in a national security situation … Windsor police remains committed to balancing the needs of our local community with the needs of our nation,” she said.
“To that end, we are opening rope access to the Huron Church Road corridor as much as we can.”
Mizuno said this is assessed on a “continual basis,” and said the force continues to “confer with our integrated operations team that has representation at all levels and from all sectors.”
Dilkens said the situation remains a “national security situation” which is preventing police from “simply reopening Huron Church Road to regular traffic at this time.”
In a tweet just after 12:30 p.m., on Wednesday, Windsor police said Industrial Drive and Northwood Street are open for eastbound, westbound and for access to travel southbound on Huron Church Road.
However, the force said no left turns are allowed from Industrial Road, and no right turns from Northwood onto Huron Church Road are being permitted at this time.
On Sunday, police began removing protesters from the bridge, which had been blocked for several days.
The demonstrations, initially aimed at denouncing vaccine mandates for truck drivers crossing the Canada-U.S. border, have since morphed into a protest against a variety of COVID-19 restrictions and the federal government.
On Monday, Dilkens declared a state of emergency to help aid police in their efforts.
The blockade at the bridge, and protesters clogging the streets in Ottawa also prompted Ontario Premier Doug Ford to declare a state of emergency last week.
What’s more, on Monday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau invoked the never-before-used Emergencies Act to aid in the policing of the demonstrations.
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