The Ambassador Bridge between Windsor and Detroit has been closed almost entirely since Monday night. The conduit carries about one-quarter of the commercial goods trade between the U.S. and Canada — an estimated $13.5 million an hour.
It’s particularly vital to the auto sector, which relies on a supply chain that includes assembly plants and parts makers in Ontario and Quebec. Automakers including General Motors, Ford Motor Co., Stellantis and Toyota Motor Corp. have been forced to curb production this week for lack of parts. An association of auto parts manufacturers was among the parties that applied for the court injunction.
The demonstrations have had staying power in Canada in large part because police, wary of stoking violence, have hesitated to make arrests and clear the blockades.
Ontario’s premier Friday called the situation “a pivotal moment for our nation” and said the eyes of the world were watching how Canada and its leaders deal with public unrest over vaccine mandates and Covid-19 restrictions. His government enacted new powers to end the blockades, including the threat of fines of as much as C$100,000 ($78,500) and jail time.
Police passed out fliers Friday night at the bridge protest, warning of the penalties for not leaving. But many protesters said they had no intention of budging.
“This is about freedom. And this is about our rights being stolen from us,” said Ronald Lyons, who was there with his adult son. “I’m willing to starve for this country.”
Another protester who declined to give her full name said she was willing to be arrested rather than back down. The woman said she was a former health-care worker who lost her job because she refused to get vaccinated, and now works as a supermarket cashier for half the pay.
On Saturday morning, reports indicated that the blockade was ending and one protester told local radio station WWJ 950 that their mission had been accomplished. That didn’t happn.
Reuters and Bloomberg contributed to this report.