Psaki: White House Worried About ‘Freedom Convoy’ Protest on Key US-Canada Bridge

By Jack Phillips
Jack Phillips
Jack Phillips
Breaking News Reporter
Jack Phillips is a senior reporter for The Epoch Times based in New York. He covers breaking news.
February 9, 2022Updated: February 9, 2022

The White House said Wednesday it’s “watching very closely” protesters blocking a key bridge that connects the United States to Canada, asserting that it risks disrupting auto production, agricultural exports, and more.

Canadian protesters led by truckers who have amassed on the bridge are demonstrating to end COVID-19 mandates, namely vaccine requirements for truck drivers who cross into the United States. A convoy of truckers and other protesters have remained in Ottawa for nearly two weeks.

“The Ambassador Bridge is Canada’s busiest link to the United States and accounts for about 25 percent of trade between the two countries,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters on Wednesday, “and so the blockade poses a risk to supply chains for the auto industry because the bridge is a key conduit for motor vehicles components and parts.”

Psaki said that the White House is communicating with Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s office and Canadian officials. The bridge, in particular, connects Detroit and Windsor, Ontario—considered one of the busiest crossings in North America.

“The President is focused on this and we are working very closely with the team at [the Department of Homeland Security], with Canadian officials and others to do everything we can to alleviate the impact,” Psaki said, adding that traffic is being rerouted from the Ambassador Bridge to the nearby Blue Water Bridge.

Epoch Times Photo
Vehicles travel across the Ambassador Bridge that connects Detroit and Windsor, Canada, in Detroit, Mich., on Nov. 8, 2021. (Nic Antaya/Getty Images)

“There’s still a lengthy delay, but it is enabling some of these trucks and transports to get through,” Psaki said. “We’re working to ensure there’s movement.”

Police in Windsor told news outlets that so far, no arrests have been made.

“The Windsor Police Service wants to resolve this situation through the use of diplomacy and negotiation, seeking a solution that is safe and sustainable for our community,” the police force said in a statement.

“I’ve already heard from automakers and food grocers,” Canadian Transport Minister Omar Alghabra said on Tuesday. “This is really a serious cause for concern.”

Officials told local Detroit media that traffic at the Blue Water Bridge is backed up for about 10 miles.

Meanwhile, truckers have congregated in the Coutts border crossing area between Montana and Alberta. It comes as Alberta’s premier, Jason Kenney, moved on Tuesday to rescind some COVID-19 mandates, including vaccine passports.

Both the north- and southbound lanes at the border crossing area were shut down by demonstrators, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police said on Tuesday.

On Sunday, Ottawa’s government declared a state of emergency and made about two dozen arrests. There have been reports of police officers seizing the truckers’ and motorists’ fuel in an apparent bid to disrupt the protest.