Canada truckers: Canadian judge temporarily bans protesters against Covid-19 mandates from using horns as tensions simmer

For nearly two weeks, Canadian truckers have been protesting a new rule that requires them to be fully vaccinated against Covid-19 or face a two-week quarantine in their homes after they return across the US-Canadian border.

And they have been loud — so annoyingly loud that a lawsuit has been filed, demanding an end to the deafening honking unleashed by the truckers in downtown Ottawa, Canada’s capital, where residents have endured the near constant noise roaring through their homes.

Zexi Li, who lives within five blocks of Parliament Hill, where the protesters are demonstrating, filed a lawsuit demanding an end to the deafening beeping.

Sound levels from the air and train horns are “dangerous and cause permanent damage to the human ear” and cause “significant mental distress, suffering and torment,” the lawsuit filed by the 21-year-old says. A hearing on the lawsuit is set for next Wednesday.

On Monday, Ontario Superior Court Justice Hugh McLean issued a 10-day injunction that prevents demonstrating truckers on downtown Ottawa streets from using air or train horns.

Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson described the constant honking of large trucks as “tantamount to psychological warfare” and wrote in letters to federal and provincial officials earlier this week that, “People are living in fear and are terrified.”

The truckers’ protests have galvanized others to join their effort and rally against mask mandates, lockdowns, restrictions on gatherings and other Covid-19 preventative efforts in the country.

Demonstrations have popped up in other areas across Canada, including the Ambassador Bridge, which links Windsor, Ontario, and Detroit and is the busiest international crossing in North America.

Idling trucks and vehicles impeded access to the bridge for a second day Tuesday, snarling traffic on both sides of the border.

“When the border crossing of this magnitude, almost a third of all traffic between our two countries crosses here, and when it closes down, it has an immediate and material impact on the economies of our both nations,” Windsor Mayor Drew Dilkens told CNN’s Don Lemon Tuesday night.

As of early Wednesday, Canadian-bound traffic was still shut down, Michigan officials tweeted. US-bound traffic was flowing with limited bridge access, Windsor Police tweeted.
A protester walks in front of parked trucks on February 8 as demonstrators in Ottawa, Canada,  continue to protest the vaccine mandates implemented by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

Many Ottawans are at their ‘breaking point’

The Ottawa police department requested additional resources from Watson so it can better deal with the unrest.

“We have been 100% full out on this for the last 10 days straight, and we will not rest until it’s done, but we need more help,” Ottawa Police Chief Peter Sloly said Monday.

Sloly said he’s been pushing all three levels of government for “whatever they can bring to bear on the permanent, sustainable, lawful, safe resolution of this demonstration,” adding that many Ottawans are at their “breaking point.”

Canadian Prime Minister Trudeau to protesters: 'It has to stop'

“This is crushing for those residents and their businesses,” he said. “It has to stop, and we are doing everything we can possibly do to stop it. We need more help; we’re asking for that help; and we’re starting to receive that help, but we need more to get this done.”

In letters the mayor wrote to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Canada’s minister of safety and Ontario’s premier and solicitor general, he asked for additional officers “to quell the insurrection that the Ottawa Police Service is not able to contain.”

Police have opened more than 60 criminal investigations linked to the protests and 23 arrests have been made. Charges include mischief, flight from police and menacing. More than 1,300 tickets have been issued for violations ranging from excessive noise and use of fireworks to driving a motor vehicle on a sidewalk.

A small line of semi-trailer trucks line up along northbound I-75 in Detroit as the Ambassador Bridge entrance is blocked off for travel to Canada on February 8.

‘It’s unclear how this ends,’ mayor says

Trudeau on Monday acknowledged protesters had a right to voice their concerns but said residents do not deserve to be harassed in their own neighborhoods.

“This pandemic has sucked for all Canadians, but Canadians know the way to get through it is continuing to listen to science, continuing to lean on each other, continuing to be there for each other,” he said after underscoring that Canadians are tired of Covid-19 health restrictions.

Canadian protesters block the busiest international crossing in North America as tensions ramp up over Covid-19 rules

Speaking to CNN Tuesday, Dilkens, the Windsor mayor, said Canada is a Democratic society, where protesting is acceptable.

“But blocking off the busiest border crossing between our two nations is not ok. So how do we get at least a lane of traffic open in each direction to allow trucks to continue to flow to get goods to market in the US?” Dilkens said.

Dilkens added that he’s not sure what protesters’ “end game” is

“It has gathered a head of steam, yes, with folks who are feeling upset about vaccine restrictions or mandates, having to wear a mask,” Dilkens said. “But it’s also been a gathering point and rallying cry for many who are just angry with government in general. And so it is unclear how this ends, and what would make everyone happy so that they go away and stop protesting. We’re not sure.”

CNN’s Paradise Afshar, Raja Razek, Joe Sutton, Keith Allen, Laura James, Melissa Alonso, Caroline Kucera, Caroll Alvarado, contributed to this report.

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