January 20, 2017 6:49 pm
Updated: January 20, 2017 10:46 pm

Canadians travelling to Donald Trump inauguration turned away at US border

WATCH: Trump Inauguration: Attendance appears lower for Trump inauguration than for Obama

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Several Canadians travelling to attend either the inauguration of Donald Trump as president of the United States or a march planned for Saturday in Washington were turned away at the border by U.S. officials.

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Relations between Canada and the United States are under scrutiny following the election of Trump, who has vowed to put “America first” and renegotiate a trade agreement with Mexico and Canada.

READ MORE: ‘America first’: Donald Trump becomes 45th president of United States

“It seems to me that they just weren’t interested in having us in the country for the inauguration,” said Sasha Dyck, a 34-year-old nurse from Montreal.

Dyck was car-pooling with five other Canadians and two French nationals on Thursday who were held for two hours at the Lacolle border crossing where they were searched, made to unlock their mobile phones and ultimately denied entry.

“I hope it doesn’t represent a closing down or a firming up of the border, or of mentalities south of the border,” Dyck said, adding that he was high-fived by U.S. border officials when he traveled south for Barack Obama’s inauguration.

READ MORE: Canada’s economy will grow more than most G7 countries due to Donald Trump: IMF

Joseph Decunha, a 20-year-old physics student at McGill University in Montreal, was also turned back at the Lacolle crossing between Quebec and New York state after being asked specifically if he, his partner and a friend supported or opposed Trump.

“We were forthcoming and explained we were quite vehemently anti-(Trump),” he said.

READ MORE: President Trump could pose ‘unprecedented’ challenges to Canada’s economy

U.S. Customs and Border Protection said in an emailed statement that it was not at liberty to discuss individual cases.

In Montreal, a small group of protesters outside the U.S. consulate burned an American flag and an effigy of Trump, images by news photographers posted on Twitter showed. A handful of protesters showed up at midday protest outside the U.S. consulate in Toronto. More protests were planned for later in the day in Montreal, Toronto and Ottawa.

READ MORE: Donald Trump effigy, U.S. flag burned by protesters in Montreal

Turnout was expected to be larger at marches across Canada that will coincide with the Women’s March on Washington on Saturday, with 26,000 people registered to attend events in 31 locations.

Buses arranged by organizers to carry some 650 people from Canada were due to cross the border later on Friday night.

© 2017 Thomson Reuters

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