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Canada 'Freedom Convoy' impacting some Ohio auto plants; Canadian judge orders protesters to leave

Stellantis spokeswoman says Jeep has made "production adjustments." No impact yet at General Motors' Toledo Transmission plant.

TOLEDO, Ohio — The truck driver blockade at the U.S.-Canada border protesting COVID-19 restrictions continued on Friday despite a judge's order to disperse. The protest is having an impact on some auto plants in Ohio.

A spokeswoman for the Jeep Assembly Plant in Toledo said shift "adjustments" have been made, but didn't confirm if any workers had been sent home.

"Stellantis continues to make production adjustments as necessary due to parts shortages caused by the closure of the Detroit/Windsor bridge," spokeswoman Jodi Tinson said. "Although the situation remains incredibly fluid, our teams are working around the clock to keep parts flowing into the plants to mitigate further disruptions."

UAW Local 14 President Tony Totty told WTOL the General Motors Toledo Transmission plant has not been impacted.

Employees at Ford's Ohio Assembly Plant in Avon Lake said Friday they have been laid off all next week due to part shortages.

A Honda spokesperson says there have been no production issues at the Honda plant in Marysville or at other Honda plants across the U.S.as of Saturday afternoon.

Production has gone on as scheduled this week.

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About 5 p.m. Friday, a Canadian judge ordered protesters at the Ambassador Bridge to disperse and end the five-day blockade. It's not immediately clear when or if law enforcement will be sent in to remove those participating.

Earlier Friday, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called for truck drivers to end their blockade and said "everything is on the table" to bring it to an end. He said there would be increasing police action against those participating in the blockade.

There were reports Friday that truckers at the Ambassador Bridge allowed one lane of traffic to open, but police said traffic remained frozen.

Officials in Ontario and Windsor joined the auto industry in an effort to win an injunction against the drivers. A state of emergency was declared in Ontario, allowing police to impose $100,000 fines and make arrests.

The Biden administration urged Trudeau’s government Thursday to use its federal powers to end the truck blockade by Canadians protesting the country’s COVID-19 restrictions, as the bumper-to-bumper demonstration forced auto plants on both sides of the border to shut down or scale back production. 

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For the fourth straight day, scores of truckers taking part in what they dubbed the Freedom Convoy blocked the Ambassador Bridge connecting Windsor, Ontario, to Detroit, disrupting the flow of auto parts and other products between the two countries.

The White House said Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas and Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg spoke with their Canadian counterparts and urged them to help resolve the standoff.

Federal Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino said Royal Canadian Mounted Police reinforcements are being sent to Windsor, Ottawa and Coutts, Alberta where another border blockade is happening.

Canadian truckers crossing the border must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 in order to bypass a 14-day quarantine.

WTOL 11's Kalie Marantette contributed to this report.

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