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18 traffic tickets issued as Regina police lay charges in alleged Co-op refinery confrontation

Regina police have charged four men in relation to a "confrontation" near the Co-op refinery Thursday. Pictured are members of Unifor Local 594 holding signs during a rally outside the Co-op Refinery on Dec. 5, 2019.
Regina police have charged four men in relation to a "confrontation" near the Co-op refinery Thursday. Pictured are members of Unifor Local 594 holding signs during a rally outside the Co-op Refinery on Dec. 5, 2019. Michael Bell / The Canadian Press

Regina police say 18 traffic tickets were issued Monday in relation to an “illegal procession,” which appeared to protest charges against four men allegedly involved in a confrontation near one of the Co-op refinery gates.

“It is no secret that Monday’s procession involved protesters involved in a lengthy labour dispute between Unifor and Federated Co-operative Limited,” Supt. Lorilee Davies said in video posted on the Regina Police Service Facebook page Tuesday.

“As a public safety agency, it is imperative that we have timely access and egress to our headquarter building. When that was compromised, we were forced to respond.

“Which side the protesters are on isn’t a consideration.”

READ MORE: Unifor rejects Co-op’s latest offer, calls on province to end labour dispute

The Co-op locked out its workers, represented by Unifor, on Dec. 5. The labour dispute is now entering its sixth month.

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In a press release Tuesday, RPS trace the origins of Monday’s procession back to what began as a report of 9th Avenue North roadblock.

Officers were dispatched around 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, April 30 to deal with it, according to the press release. Within an hour and a half, the vehicles had been cleared out with the exception of a few parked near a gate.

As police approached, “it was clear some sort of confrontation had occurred,” said the press release, which noted “one adult male had minor abrasions.”

Due to “conflicting accounts of what had occurred,” police said in the press release that they began an investigation.

READ MORE: City of Regina inserts itself into Unifor, Co-op Refinery labour dispute

On Monday, four men were charged in connection with the incident.

John Mohns, 29, and Ward Robert Johnson, 50, both of Regina, each face one count of common assault.

Kristopher James Atkinson, 41, of Emerald Park, faces two counts of common assault.

Joseph William Dulong, 27, of Regina, faces one count of mischief under $5,000.

They are all scheduled to appear in provincial court on July 20.

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In the press release, police said as they were processing the charges, “there was a continuous procession of vehicles circling the 1700 block of Osler Street, the RPS Headquarters building.”

Police said the procession appeared to be a protest, which “impeded the entering and exiting their facility and jeopardized public safety.”

“We support the right to protest,” said Davies in the video on the RPS Facebook page. “And when given time, can help facilitate or exercise discretion. That wasn’t the case [Monday] when the procession surrounded the Regina Police Service headquarter building.”

The press release states 11 tickets were issued for participating in an illegal procession. One was issued for an unsafe turn from a wrong lane. The event dispersed, but a similar one began on 9th Avenue North later in the day.

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Following complaints from the public and “the potential public safety issue,” seven more tickets were issued, the press release states.