A new protest by First Nation and Idle No More activists on Wednesday, January 16, 2013 has blocked traffic for a time in Windsor near the Ambassador Bridge. This was a peaceful march starting at 11am from the intersection of Huron Church Road and Tecumseh Road West which then headed northbound towards the foot of the Ambassador Bridge. Protesters assembled at the foot of the Ambassador Bridge in the area of College Avenue before walking back to Tecumseh Road West.
This protest was not intended to close down the border crossing completely but at one point, trucks were lined up for about a kilometre. One entrance to the bridge was blocked, but a second remained open and there was slow traffic throughout the area. As a result, truck traffic was higher than normal at the Blue Water Bridge.
There is also talk of protests along Ontario Highway 17 as gatherings are planned from North Bay across to Sault Ste Marie..
Protests by native North American Indians could cause temporary closure of some border crossings between the U.S. and Canada. Various demonstrations are planned at border areas and some aboriginal Indian leaders have called for blockades of border crossing ports. The demonstrations are set to begin Saturday, January 5th, 2012.
We will update this post with any new information we receive so check back if you are heading to the border this weekend.
Update: About 1,000 demonstrators showed up at Peace Arch but the protests are not affecting border crossing operations.
Protesters are planning a ceremony at the Peace Arch monument on Saturday. This is not intended to be a disruptive event and there is no call for a blockade.
Final Update: the bridge is now operating normally.
One lane of traffic on the bridge was closed between between 1 and 2 p.m. noon on Saturday as members of native groups from the American side of the border plan to meet in the middle of the bridge with Indians from the Canadian side. The Peace Bridge Authority has granted a one-hour permit for the event.
Final UPDATE : The border crossing has reopened and normal operations resumed.
Cornwall police closed the International Bridge Saturday morning due to the protest. They do not know how long the protest will last but it will likely extend into the mid afternoon. You need to consider using alternate crossings such as Fort Covington / Dundee, or the Ogdensburg-Prescott International Bridge .
Final UPDATE: Indian demonstrations had closed the bridge but it is now open.
Local police are co-operating with the demonstrators and had planned to close the bridge in both directions from noon until 1 p.m. Drivers in the area of Exmouth and Front streets should expect traffic to be heavy and even stopped at times during the demonstration. The protesters will meet at Soul’s Memorial in Point Edward around 10 a.m. They expect to march to Highway 402 and plan to block traffic near the currency exchange until noon.
Final UPDATE 1:00 pm 1/5/13: The bridge is open and operating normally.
Protests are planned for this bridge as well. We have no details on expected or actual impact but the bridge is open.
Why the Protests?
These actions stem from long simmering discontent by aboriginal Indians over alleged abuses of land rights and other grievances. A three-week-long hunger strike by a Native American chief Theresa Spence has stimulated calls for action among Indian activists. Another group, Idle No More, has promised a series of national protests and has set up a number of rallies across Canada.