Most protestors at Bluewater Bridge have left

Blockade by farm machinery at the Bluewater Bridge Feb. 6

It appears the protest at the Bluewater Bridge is dispersing.

About 150 vehicles – many of them tractors – parked on the 402 between the Bluewater Bridge and the Front Street entrance. At 4:45 pm, the Bluewater Bridge traffic camera showed only a small handful of the vehicles remained on the scene.

This morning, the group, organized by David Buurma of Petrolia and his brother, Roger, of the Watford area, left the Reece’s Corners truck stop and headed down the 402.

By 11:30 am, Lambton OPP announced it was closing the highway from the 402 to the Bluewater Bridge because of the protest. David Buurma said on a video posted on social media was part of the Freedom Convoy which has been hold up in Ottawa for eight days.

The convoy is led by Canada Unity whose leader’s expressed goal is to get the federal senate and the Governor General to remove the current federal government – elected just five months ago – and remove all COVID-19 rules aimed at reducing the spread of the virus during the pandemic.

Canada Unity used a mandate imposed by the federal government on transport truck drivers as the reason for the nation-wide protest although the Canadian Truckers’ Association says 90 per cent of the industry is already fully vaccinated.

The protest on Parliament Hill has drawn criticism from all corners. Indigenous leaders have called out protestors using scared ceremonies during the event. Nazi and Confederate flags have been seen at the event, Canadian flags have been defaced with the swastika, protestors have danced on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier – an action denounced by the Royal Canadian Legion and dressed a statue of Terry Fox as a protestor – which was condemned by the Terry Fox Foundation.

There are multiple reports of residents around Parliament Hill be harassed by people with the convoy for wearing a mask. And the drivers have been using their horns as a form of protest and setting off fireworks in the downtown at all hours of the night and day.

The Independent asked Roger Buurma to answer questions about the protest. However he said he would not talk to Reporter Heather Wright because in past reporting on the Buurma’s human biosolids fertilizer business and its disputes with its neighbours and local municipalities, she had “twisted their words.”

On social media, David Buurma stands atop bales of hay painted with the word freedom on the side while he goes live on social media. “There ain’t much going through here right now,” he says smiling to the camera and then invites more farmers to come to help. “If y’all have a tractor and you want to come and join us, it’s a good time.

“These tractors are parked like they ain’t going anywhere. It’s just a parking spot on the 402.”

Buurma notes the protestors left one lane open for emergency vehicles.

“We’re done with the mandates…done with the stupidity,” he said as he showed the tractors heading toward Sarnia when the protest began in Reece’s Corners.

“Canadians are some of the friendliest people on earth but were past our limit,” he says adding he was done with “austerity measures.”

The protesters parked at the top of the Front Street onramp and vehicles could gone on the international span, however a large snow plow from the Federal Bridge Authority blocked the ramp. The gates on the highway starting at Modeland Road were closed by the OPP and transports were being rerouted from the bridge. Protestors walked around on the highway while others brought coffee to share.

Buurma, who gathered a transport trailer of food and took it to protestors in Ottawa last weekend, said during his live video said the protest “is no longer going to be Ottawa, it’s going to be every single city town border in Canada….all ya gotta do is drop the mandates and we go home.”

At 4:28 pm, traffic cameras at the Bluewater Bridge showed a majority of the tractors had left the scene with a few still on the highway. The OPP have not said when the highway will be reopened.