The two-week blockades have already impacted business, with protesters closing down a third Canada-US border crossing in central Manitoba.

Rallies inspired by Canada's trucker movement have sprung up elsewhere, from New Zealand to France and Belgium.
Rallies inspired by Canada's trucker movement have sprung up elsewhere, from New Zealand to France and Belgium. (Reuters)

Trucker-led protests against coronavirus restrictions in Canada have shut down another US border crossing, as copycat movements gather steam as far afield as Europe and New Zealand.

In the Canadian capital Ottawa, police said on Thursday they were bringing in reinforcements, issuing more arrests and tickets, and stepping up truck towing operations in a bid to break the impasse.

But protesters were hunkering down and taking pride in how their two-week protest has mushroomed into an international movement.

The border blockades have already impacted business, with the key Ambassador Bridge linking Ontario and Detroit out of service for several days — and major automakers forced to cut back production at several plants as a result.

A second crossing in the western province of Alberta has been blocked for days, and on Thursday protesters closed down a third — in central Manitoba.

Citing supply shortages, Ford said it was forced to slow production at factories in Canada, while some Stellantis factories in the United States and Canada halted work on Wednesday evening.

General Motors cancelled several shifts and Toyota said its plants were also hit.

READ MORE: Trucker blockade hits key artery in US-Canada auto industry

Copycat protests

Addressing reporters outside the House of Commons, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau once again called the blockades "unacceptable" and said he was working with authorities across the country to bring them to an end.

"This is hurting communities across the country," Trudeau said.

With Trudeau warning the two-week-long protests are threatening Canada's economy, rallies inspired by the trucker movement have sprung up elsewhere, from New Zealand to France and Belgium.

An anti-vaccine protest turned ugly in Wellington on Thursday, with police clashing with demonstrators on the grounds of parliament and more than 120 people arrested.

In France, thousands inspired by the Canadian truckers planned to converge on Paris on Friday evening, with some aiming to move onwards to Brussels.

Paris police sought to prevent the demonstration, saying they would ban so-called "Freedom Convoys" and would stop roads from being blocked, threatening hefty fines or jail — while Belgian authorities vowed similar action.

And in the United States, supporters took to social media announcing a "People's Convoy" of truckers and "all freedom-loving Americans" to gather east of Los Angeles for a two-day rally beginning March 4 before hitting the road.

Canada's self-styled "Freedom Convoy" began last month in the country's west — launched in anger at requirements that truckers either be vaccinated, or test and isolate, when crossing the US-Canada border.

READ MORE: Canada trucker protests threaten to dent business with US

Source: TRTWorld and agencies