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Protesters for and against COVID-19 restrictions gather outside Saskatchewan Legislature

Click to play video: 'Multiple protests at Regina legislature' Multiple protests at Regina legislature
Protestors for and against COVID-19 health measures filled Albert Street, adjacent to the Saskatchewan Legislative Building, on Saturday – Feb 5, 2022

Protestors for and against COVID-19 health measures filled Albert Street, adjacent to the Saskatchewan Legislative Building, on Saturday.

A trucker convoy arrived outside the legislature later in the afternoon with plans to stay until all provincial mandates are lifted, according to a social media post.

Regina police said the public should expect to see police present and monitoring the area to ensure the safety of all road users.

Read more: Saskatchewan Legislature building closes temporarily due to security risk

The convoy of vehicles stretched northbound on Albert Street between 25th Avenue and College Avenue and police say it has congested traffic flow.

Click to play video: 'Alberta, Saskatchewan signal end to COVID-19 restrictions' Alberta, Saskatchewan signal end to COVID-19 restrictions
Alberta, Saskatchewan signal end to COVID-19 restrictions – Feb 6, 2022

Drivers are asked to avoid the area and use alternate routes or expect delays.

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The Saskatchewan Legislature building was temporarily closed on Friday afternoon due to the security risk. No date for re-opening has been provided.

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Barricades were set up blocking the vehicle entrance to the legislative building.

Addressing the protest on Friday, Moe said all Canadians have the right to protests but they must do so “within the confines of the laws that we have.”

Saskatchewan Liberal Party leader Jeff Walters said he and others were at the legislative grounds to express ​”displeasure of the Moe government’s willingness to listen to experts when it comes to policies.”

“We have a Moe government that doesn’t appear to be using the advice of experts in the field to make decisions that affect all of our lives,” Walters said.

Walters said it was a coincidence that they were protesting on the same day that the trucker convoy was coming to the legislature.

One man who didn’t give his name to Global News said he was there to support health-care workers.

“They’re the true heroes. They’re the medical experts who tell us that getting vaccinated is the best way to protect ourselves and protect our community.

Another woman who did not give her name held up a ‘keep proof of vaccination’ sign.

She thinks Moe has forgotten to protect vulnerable people and the health​-care system.

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“I don’t believe vaccines should be mandated but I believe he needs to keep in place what exists now,” she said.

Click to play video: 'Saturday protests at Saskatchewan legislative grounds' Saturday protests at Saskatchewan legislative grounds
Saturday protests at Saskatchewan legislative grounds – Feb 5, 2022

​On the other side of the debate, former Saskatchewan Party MLA of Arm River Greg Brkich was at the protest on Saturday. He told Global News he thinks it’s time “to open up this province.”

“They accomplished what they wanted to do with the mandates…I can go anywhere now in Regina except a restaurant,” Brkich said, donning a Make America Great Again hat.

Brkich, who served as MLA for more than 20 years, believes Moe is watching the protest and hopes it’s peaceful.

Despite protesters having differing views than him, Brkich said he wants to see peaceful demonstrations.

“I’ve seen demonstrators here when I was an MLA that were in the park. (I) may not agree with them but I wasn’t saying ‘let’s kick them out.’ They have a right to demonstrate, same as we do, as long as it’s peaceful,” Brkich said.

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Greg Collins, who was at the legislative grounds on Saturday, echoed those statements and said he was called a racist.

“I’m not racist. I’m not against vaccines. I believe vaccines have saved millions and millions of lives. I’m not against people getting the vaccine and wearing a mask or doing whatever they want – that is their choice,” Collins said.

Collins said everyone should have the choice but that the vaccine mandate for federally regulated industries violates the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Another protester, Kimm Reid, said COVID-19 vaccine mandates at the land border crossings are preventing her from getting to her company in Montana.

“Well, I guess I can get there if I roll up my sleeve and take something that the government tells me that I have to take, but I’m not going to do that,” she told reporters.

Reid said she doesn’t see a purpose in getting the vaccine. Reid said she contracted COVID-19 and ended up in the hospital, but also knows others who were vaccinated and also ended up in the hospital.

One of the convoy’s organizers, Tamara Lavoie said in a live video on Facebook that Saturday’s demonstration “is not a parade.”

“This is not put on by the parade people from last weekend. We are here fighting for mandates to be dropped, including every mandate that affected every single person who lost their jobs this year,” Lavoie stated.

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Regina Police told Global News on Friday that the trucker convoy did not have a permit.

“If anybody pulled a permit, they have absolutely nothing to do with what we’re doing. And I have nothing to do with permits, so permits don’t affect me. I don’t ask for permission,” Lavoie added.

In the video, filmed in a car, Lavoie said she’s not sure how long she’ll stay.

“Hours, days, March, I don’t know — maybe March. I don’t know what to tell you.”

Lavoie declined media interviews on site Saturday, and has not responded to messages from Global employees requesting an interview Friday.

Click to play video: 'Saskatchewan Official Opposition leader responds to planned legislature protests' Saskatchewan Official Opposition leader responds to planned legislature protests
Saskatchewan Official Opposition leader responds to planned legislature protests – Feb 4, 2022

 

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