The Thousand Islands Bridge has reopened after being closed to the U.S. in response to a new blockade that was set up in solidarity with the Wet’suwet’en protests taking place across Canada on Monday.
The Thousand Islands Bridge is near Gananoque, east of Kingston, Ont.
According to the Thousand Islands Bridge Authority’s Twitter, access to Canada was also restricted.
However, as of 3 p.m., traffic restrictions were lifted.
The group of around 60 people stood on the bridge holding signs that read, ‘no pipelines on Wet’suwet’en’ and ‘shut down Canada,’ as the group chanted, ‘block the bridges, block the tracks, we have Tyendinaga’s back.’
“It does not take much people power to shut this country down, and we’re about to do it because of their lies about Indigenous sovereignty are unacceptable,” said the chant leader, Dexter X.
Dexter X continued on tell Global News that Monday’s demonstration took many hours of community planning and support.
“It’s not a small, spontaneous thing. I’ve talked to several young women who’ve never done an action before, and now they’re taking a bridge,” said Dexter X.
Now, the group will focus its attention on pushing the federal government to act on several key issues facing all Canadians, according to Dexter X.
“We want Indigenous sovereignty. We want everyone out of Wet’suwet’en. We want everyone out of Tyendinaga. We want action on climate change. We want the urban centre’s and settlers to rise up in support of Indigenous sovereignty,” said Dexter X as the protesters filed onto a yellow school bus.
Dan Vance told Global News he had been stuck at the border for about 45 minutes with no real end in sight.
The 59-year-old had travelled to Wellesley Island in the U.S. to pick up some packages and was on his way back when he was stopped.
He said he was in Canada Customs paying the tax on his purchases when he was delayed.
“I was listening to the custom officers talking and they were saying some Indigenous people had blocked the bridge up here between customs and the bridge.”
There were about 30 or so cars backed up behind Vance, who said he also saw some people attempting to turn around and go back to the U.S.
“Hopefully, it’s no more than an hour or two but right here, this time of year, right around the Thousand Islands nothing is open because it’s wintertime,” Vance said.
“I’m hoping there’s no emergency where an ambulance or a firetruck has to get through.”
Railway blockades and protests in support of Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs who opposed the 670-km Coastal GasLink pipeline have been taking place for three weeks.
Coastal GasLink has signed agreements with 20 elected Indigenous councils along the route but the $6.6-billion liquefied natural gas pipeline is opposed by the Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs, who claim rights over the unceded land the pipeline will pass through.
Another group of protesters shut down a border crossing between Niagara Falls, Ont., and Niagara Falls, N.Y., Sunday, but left on their own accord.
Other solidarity protests, including a rail blockade in Tyendinaga territory near Belleville, Ont., have shut down train service across swaths of the country.
—With files from Global News’ David Lao, Kerri Breen and The Canadian Press