Demonstrations against public health measures have forced RCMP to block access to the U.S. border crossing in Surrey, B.C., for the second weekend in a row.
Convoys of vehicles made their way to the border crossing Saturday from Vancouver and Chilliwack, B.C., as vaccine mandate protesters have now disrupted traffic in the Lower Mainland for the fourth straight weekend.
More than a dozen people were arrested at the Pacific Highway border crossing last week, with some protesters breaching blockades amid reports of harassment and threatening behaviour.
Despite the border being opened again last week after Mounties cleared out protesters, demonstrators forced another highway closure on Saturday at the intersection of 8th Avenue and 176 Street.
“As a preventative measure, and to help ensure public and officer safety, vehicles and pedestrians cannot access the Pacific Highway border crossing at this time,” a spokesperson for Surrey RCMP said in a statement.
“The public are advised to use alternate border crossings during this service disruption until further notice.”
The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) says the border crossing remains open as of 1 p.m. PT, but access to the crossing itself is not possible. The alternate crossings in B.C. are located in Aldergrove and Abbotsford.
Police across Canada, including in Victoria, are continuing to deal with protests against vaccine mandates, with the Prime Minister authorizing use of emergency powers under the Emergencies Act to deal with them.
B.C. Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth has said B.C. supports the use of the act to deal with protesters.
Counter-protesters turn out
In Vancouver, counter-protesters came out once again to oppose the vaccine mandate protests.
A cohort of counter-protesters had forced trucks to change routes in Vancouver two weeks ago. Counter-protesters on Saturday turned out at the Pacific National Exhibition (PNE) in the city’s Hastings Park to oppose one of the convoys headed for the Surrey border.
Loud honking was heard at the intersection of Hastings Street and Renfrew Street as the two groups met around 10 a.m. PT on Saturday, but no violence was reported and protesters mostly stayed apart.
Police across the province have said they will continue to provide updates on the protests that continue to disrupt road access.