Aboriginal protesters close Ontario bridgeSaturday, January 05, 2013 by: SooToday.com Staff
CORNWALL, Ont. - A border crossing from Canada to the United States has been shut down this morning by First Nations protesters.
Police in Cornwall, Ont., say the Seaway International Bridge has been shut down since about 10:30 a.m.
It is unclear when the toll bridge, which connects the city, and Akwesasne, Ont., to Massena, N.Y., will be re-opened.
Cornwall Sgt. Marc Bissonnette says there are about 100 to 150 demonstrators marching on the bridge, as part of the Idle No More movement.
Bissonnette says the bridge was shut down as a public safety precaution and the demonstrators have had no incidents with police.
A number of other similar protests have been planned throughout the country today, prompting police to warn travellers to plan ahead when using some highways and bridges due to unplanned closures.
The toll bridge is a major transportation hub in the area and more than 2.3 million commercial and private vehicles use it annually.
For the past few weeks, tensions have been mounting over the federal government's omnibus Bill C-45, which First Nations groups claim eliminates treaty rights set out in the Constitution.
The protests are also to show support for Attawapiskat Chief Theresa Spence, who stopped eating solid food Dec. 11 in hopes of securing a meeting between Prime Minister Stephen Harper, the Governor General and other First Nations chiefs.
On Friday, Harper agreed to the meeting but Spence vowed to continue her hunger strike until the meeting actually takes place.