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Injunction granted to prevent protesters from blocking Ambassador Bridge

The injunction goes into effect at 7 p.m. Friday (Feb. 11)
Truckers and supporters block the access leading from the Ambassador Bridge, linking Detroit and Windsor, as truckers and their supporters continue to protest against COVID-19 vaccine mandates and restrictions, in Windsor, Ont., Thursday, Feb. 10, 2022. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette

The Ontario Superior Court granted an injunction Friday preventing protesters from blocking the Ambassador Bridge border crossing in Windsor, Ont.

Chief Justice Geoffrey Morawetz said the injunction would take effect at 7 p.m., about two hours after his ruling came down.

“I am satisfied that … the case has been made out for an injunction,” he said.

“The injunction, although it is granted, it will take effect at 7 p.m. this evening. This gives individuals the opportunity and the time to clear the area.”

Some details of the order were still to be worked out as of 5 p.m. Friday, including its scope and duration, and Morawetz asked a lawyer representing the Automotive Parts Manufacturers’ Association, which applied for the injunction, to send him a draft.

In submissions, association lawyer Michael Wills said the protest against COVID-19 measures was costing the sector tens of millions of dollars each day, as it had forced plants to reduce production.

He said that while granting an order that tells police they have the power to arrest people for breaking the law may seem unnecessary, it would ultimately serve a purpose.

“Members of the public need not take the word of the police that the arrest and detention of violators is authorized, because it is clearly set out in the order signed by the judge,” he told the court.

A lawyer for the City of Windsor, which was granted intervener status in the case, said the protest was affecting more than just the economy.

“The protest has disrupted the city’s ability to deliver critical services and is upending the lives of its residents,” she said, noting that the bridge is located near residential neighbourhoods.

She added that the city has been forced to relocate some emergency equipment.

Meanwhile, a lawyer for an unnamed group of protesters opposed to COVID-19 mandates argued that they were not blocking all lanes of the road at the bridge, so an order was not necessary.

But the deputy chief of police told the city’s lawyer that while one lane was open as a result of negotiations with the protesters, it was only to allow emergency vehicles access.

– The Canadian Press