In North America, the Freedom Convoy movement is gaining momentum, opposing the COVID-19 policy of the authorities, including mandatory vaccination. The protesters, a significant part of whom are truckers, blocked highways on the US-Canada border, which led to disruption of the supply of car factories and forced downtime.
The protests began in Canada on January 29 in response to the introduction of new rules for crossing the border between the United States and Canada, according to which only vaccinated drivers are allowed to travel freely, and unvaccinated drivers are required to serve a two-week quarantine upon their return from Canada. The movement, which initially had the goal of removing these and other COVID-19 restrictions, quickly turned into a political one: the protesters began to demand the resignation of the government of Justin Trudeau, known for his leftist ideas and strongly irritating the conservative-minded working class. The Prime Minister himself hid with his family in a “bunker”, which further angered the protesters who occupied the center of Ottawa.
Trudeau hoped that the protests would resolve themselves, but this did not happen. This week, the situation became critical because protesters began blocking roads: the main transport artery, the Ambassador Bridge over the Detroit River, connecting the American city of Detroit and the Canadian Windsor, is blocked, including this bridge accounts for about a quarter of the cargo flow between the two countries.
Detroit is the main hub of the US automotive industry, and it is closely tied to the supply of components from Canada and to Canada. In general, it is not surprising that car factories on both sides of the border, and so exhausted by the ongoing global shortage of microchips, have now stood up due to the physical disruption of supply chains. Ford, GM, Stellantis, Toyota, and Honda have already talked about stopping or partial downtime.
The problem is compounded by the fact that the “Freedom Convoy” has managed to become an international movement the protests of truckers against the incompetent management of the authorities during the COVID-19 pandemic began in Europe, Australia, and New Zealand, and, as usual, all kinds of radical movements joined this movement, increasing the intensity of passions and general confusion.