Cornwall bridge reopened after Idle No More protest
Last bridge closure in 2009 due to Akwesasne protest over armed border guards
Police in Cornwall, Ont., have reopened the International Bridge after an Idle No More protest attracted about 350 demonstrators and closed the bridge for more than three hours.
The bridge closed at about 10:30 a.m. when the march began and reopened at about 2 p.m.
The protest was one of a series of events by First Nations groups calling on the federal government to work with them to discuss the issue of aboriginal treaties.
The last time the bridge closed for anything other than a traffic collision was in 2009, during a dispute between the Akwesasne Nation and Canada Border Services Agency over armed border guards.
During the dispute, the bridge was closed for more than a month.
Bridges, roads closed Saturday across Canada
Protesters were also set to march Saturday at the Peace Bridge between Fort Erie, Ont., and Buffalo, N.Y., on the Deh Cho Bridge in the N.W.T., the Peach Arch border crossing in Surrey, B.C., the Canadian side of the Blue Water Bridge in Sarnia, Ont., and at the Queenston/Lewiston Bridge between Niagara Falls and Niagara on the Lake.
Protesters were also set to gather Saturday at other locales, such as:
- The Buffalo Narrows Reserve in Northern Saskatchewan.
- Highway 403 in Hamilton Saturday afternoon.
- The White Buffalo Youth Lodge in Saskatoon, with actor and activist Tantoo Cardinal.
- The Santa Maria bridge in West Edmonton Mall, where a group of Latinos are expected to gather in support of the First Nations protesters.
- Centennial Park on Salt Spring Island, B.C.
- Orchard Park Shopping Centre in Kelowna, B.C.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper has agreed to meet with First Nations chiefs on Jan. 11, as the hunger strike from Attawapiskat First Nation Chief Theresa Spence drags on.
But protesters have said that is only a first step and they do not believe the meeting will solve their concerns, which mostly stem from Bill C-45 — the Conservative government's omnibus budget bill.
Idle No More protesters have said the bill hinders their treaty rights.