Updated Feb 14, 2022 - World

U.S.-Canada border crossing blockaded by protesters reopens

Protestors stopped by police as they block the entrance to the Ambassador Bridge

Protesters against COVID-19 vaccine mandates are stopped by police as they block the entrance to the Ambassador Bridge in Windsor, Ontario, Canada, on Feb. 12. Photo: Jeff Kowalsky/AFP via Getty Images

Canadian officials reopened a major U.S.-Canada border crossing on Sunday night that's been blockaded by protesters for six days, but warned non-essential travel "is not advised."

Yes, but: While officials said "normal border processing has resumed" on Ambassador Bridge, hundreds of demonstrators in Canada's capital, Ottawa, continued to rally around Parliament Hill, per the New York Times.

The big picture: Demonstrations began last month in Ottawa against a U.S. COVID-19 vaccine requirement for cross-border truck drivers, but they have since expanded into a wider movement protesting the country's government and other issues.

What's happening: Windsor Police Sgt. Steve Betteridge told reporters ahead of the bridge reopening that officers had arrested some 12 people Sunday and moved to dispel the remains of the demonstration.

  • "Of those 12 arrests, there was no violence involved, no violence from the protesters and the officers did not have to use force," Betteridge said.
  • Windsor Police said in a statement Sunday that "several" people had been arrested on charges of "mischief" and a number of vehicles seized.

Meanwhile, Ottawa officials said "back-channel negotiations" had begun with protest leaders to remove the convoy of trucks and other vehicles from residential areas, per the NYT.

Worth noting: Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas and Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg spoke to their Canadian counterparts Sunday morning about ending the blockades, White House Homeland Security adviser Liz Sherwood-Randall said in a statement.

Go deeper: Canadian police set up hate crime hotline over pandemic protest violence

Editor's note: This story has been updated with new details throughout.

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