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Canada Trucker Protests

Situation that began in Ottawa appears to be spreading

Demonstrators continue to gather in support of the trucker convoy in Canada's capital of Ottawa this week, following a second weekend of protests. The truckers are protesting against government mandates for COVID-19 vaccines and masks, as well as restrictions on certain businesses, and have blocked off streets in the Parliament Hill area of Ottawa since arriving January 29. The city's mayor declared a state of emergency February 6.

While these developments have taken on a political tenor in worldwide headlines, many of our readers are familiar with the trucking industry in general and could be affected by disruptions to their supply chain.

Participants appear steadfast in their mission not to leave until policymakers meet their demands to end public health mandates tied to the COVID-19 pandemic; signs of "Hold the Line" were reportedly visible as recently as this edition of Direct & Current. Ottawa police report multiple arrests and hundreds of tickets issued over the past two weeks.

Ripple effects have been widespread. Detroit traffic was virtually gridlocked when related protests blocked off a bridge from Windsor, Ontario that serves as a main thoroughfare across the U.S.-Canadian border and into the Detroit metro area. Just this afternoon, the Wall Street Journal reported that major Detroit automakers GM and Ford scaled back production and sent workers home due to parts shortages stemming from the events in Ottawa.

Even the Super Bowl is said to be threatened by the possibility of additional trucker protests. The United States Department of Homeland Security issued a bulletin to various law enforcement bodies February 9, first reported by Yahoo News, warning that “the convoy could severely disrupt transportation, federal government, and law enforcement operations through gridlock and potential counterprotests.”

According to senior law enforcement officials and documents obtained by Yahoo News, the warning circulated to law enforcement nationwide on Tuesday by DHS states that the agency “has received reports of a convoy of truckers planning to potentially block roads in major metropolitan cities in the United States in protest of, among other things, vaccine mandates for truck drivers.”

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