Hit-and-run injures 4 at site of anti-mandate protest in downtown Winnipeg, one man arrested

Click to play video: 'Trucker protests: Man arrested after 4 injured during protest near Manitoba legislature'
Trucker protests: Man arrested after 4 injured during protest near Manitoba legislature
Winnipeg police Const. Rob Carver said Saturday that a man had been arrested after four people were injured when a vehicle reportedly drove through a group of protesters that were part of the "Freedom Convoy" demonstrating near the Manitoba legislature. He said the vehicle fled from the area but police eventually stopped it and arrested the driver, who is facing multiple charges including assault. Three of the injured were treated on scene, and the fourth was treated at hospital but released. – Feb 5, 2022

Winnipeg police say one man is in custody after a hit-and-run injured four people in front of the Manitoba Legislative Building Friday night, where demonstrators opposed to public health orders and vaccine mandates were camped out in big rigs and vehicles.

Police say they received word of the incident near Memorial Boulevard and Broadway at 9:50 p.m. Friday.

Officers were told initially that a westbound Jeep Patriot had driven through a group of protesters before speeding off down Portage Avenue.

With help from Mounties, city police say the vehicle eventually came to a stop in the 4800 block of Portage Avenue where the driver was arrested “after a brief struggle.”

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Winnipeg police spokesperson Const. Rob Carver says four people were hurt in the hit-and-run, three of whom suffered minor injuries and were treated at the scene by paramedics.

A fourth person was treated in hospital and later released.

“What I can tell you here is that comments were made by the accused that tends to suggest that this was not specifically about the mandates,” Carver said during a Saturday press conference, when asked about a possible motivation.

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“Whether or not we can … rely on those comments is another question.”

Carver added the suspect was not participating in the demonstration.

A 42-year-old man from Headingley is facing several charges, including assault with a weapon, dangerous operation of a vehicle causing bodily harm, and failing to stop at the scene of an accident.

Carver says the man’s name was not released as charges had not yet been formally laid.

Global News has viewed a video that appears to have been taken from the dashboard of one of the semi-trucks parked on Memorial Boulevard facing the legislature.

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It appears to show an SUV speeding up suddenly, striking the back of a second vehicle and then hitting a person before driving out of view.

Carver said he didn’t know exactly how fast the vehicle was travelling at the time, only that “it was moving at a fairly decent clip, and it’s pretty miraculous no one sustained any serious injuries.”

He went on to say police had limited traffic on Broadway down to one lane in either direction as of Saturday, but defended the decision to not close off that section of street entirely.

“First of all, there are people who want to be part of this protest and are coming to the area for that reason. We need to facilitate their ability to peacefully protest,” Carver said.

“We also need to make sure that people can get in and out of that area, and the general downtown area, for regular commutes or emergency needs … We’re trying to balance those needs with making it safe, but still allowing some vehicular traffic.”

Carver went on to say protest organizers and participants had been “incredibly cooperative,” and there were no other issues to speak of besides the hit-and-run.

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Police had been given no indication as to when the protest may end, Carver said, but added that was not top of mind for the force at the moment.

“We’re not looking at some sort of an end date as to when things will wrap up, we just want to make sure everyone is safe while this is ongoing,” Carver said.

Protest organizers released a statement later in the day, saying they were “deeply concerned” about the incident.

“We call on our elected officials at all levels of government to denounce this purposeful act of violence on peaceful protestors who were obeying the law and call on them to engage in conversation and action to begin to heal the division in our country,” the statement read in part.

“Throughout the rally, we have endeavored to create a safe and welcoming environment for all individuals in our communities. We will continue to work closely with the Winnipeg Police Service and thank them for their service.”

Demonstrators took to the streets in front of the legislature Friday morning for a planned protest in solidarity with a trucker convoy that arrived in Ottawa last week.

Many vehicles and semis remained parked on Memorial Boulevard Saturday morning, which police previously said they had allowed for use as a staging area.

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This is an unfolding story and will be updated as it develops.

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