One week to end Ambassador Bridge blockade considered too long by many

Posted at 6:27 PM, Feb 14, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-14 18:27:22-05

(WXYZ) — Canadian officials said some of their mandates will be lifted by the end of February. Windsor Police also said they would be sure that protestors don’t return while similar protests against COVID restrictions have happened in other countries.

The stakes were high. Truckers protesting vaccination mandates in Canada. They started in Ottawa. They grew to include a blockade at the Ambassador Bridge the most important trade connection between Canada and the US.

The blockade lasted a week. The estimated economic cost is $850 million.

Should the blockade have been ended sooner?

Dr. Patrick Guarnieri heads the National De-escalation Training Center in the US. It is based at Wayne State University in Detroit.

“I think in most jurisdictions it probably would have been at least half of that if not less. People would have acted sooner,” Dr. Guarnieri tells 7 Action News.

The NDSC trains police across the US on how to take a softer approach in heated situations and base the response on the people they are confronting.

In 2020 Detroit and many US cities saw protests in the streets over the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. In Detroit there were confrontations, arrests, injuries, tear gas was used.

The blockade of the Ambassador Bridge in Windsor lasted a week and cost an estimated $850 million in economic losses mostly to the auto industry.

In Windsor, there were arrests and vehicles towed.

On Sunday night, Windsor Police Chief Pamela Muzuno said, “Our role was to ensure public and officer safety and to maintain order as we prioritized our focus on a peaceful and sustainable resolution. Today I’m proud of what I witnessed.”

Canadians traveling into the US across the Ambassador Bridge said they support protestors but not at such a high financial cost.

Experts say it could have ended sooner and peacefully by starting negotiations with the leader or leaders.

“Just begin with negotiations to try and get it done immediately, soon as the bridge was shut off, it's time to react. There's an economic cost, potential threat to lives and property. And you need to act immediately,” Dr. Guarnieri said.