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Surrey, B.C. border crossing reopens after new convoy protest

Click to play video: 'Access to Surrey border crossing closed amid new convoy protest'
Access to Surrey border crossing closed amid new convoy protest
One of Canada's busiest commercial truck border crossings was closed again Saturday as anti-mandate protesters swarmed the route leading to the Pacific Highway crossing in Surrey. Kamil Karamali reports – Feb 19, 2022

The Pacific Highway border crossing in Surrey, B.C.,  is now open after being closed for most of Saturday, amid the latest convoy protest opposing COVID-19 measures.

Demonstrators met at locations in Vancouver and Chilliwack Saturday morning, then convoyed on Highway 1 with a destination of Highway 15 and 8th Avenue, the key entry point to the truck crossing.

RCMP says as of 8 p.m. Saturday evening, the vast majority of protesters have left, except for a small group at the intersection of 176th and 8th avenue.

“It’s been a very busy day for our teams on the ground, and those supporting operations from behind the scenes,” Sgt. Elenore Sturko said Saturday.

“Our work here is not done though, and the public can expect a continued police presence in the days and nights ahead.”

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At one point, demonstrators became aggressive with media on-site, including Global BC, with police stepping in to ensure reporters could safely access their vehicles.

Mounties later said they had launched an investigation into “a group of aggressive protesters who surrounded members of the media.”

“These kinds of acts of aggression and intimidation towards media, or any member of the public, are simply unacceptable,” Sturko said.

“While it is not always safe for our officers to take immediate enforcement action at the time of the alleged offences based on the size of the crowd of protesters, these incidents will be fully investigated and could lead to subsequent arrests or charges.”

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Read more: 12 protesters arrested at B.C. border trucker protest as police move in

Meanwhile, a heated situation shaped up in East Vancouver, where shouting and, at points, shoving, broke out as convoy supporters and counter-protesters faced off at Hastings and Renfrew Streets.

Bearing signs with messages such as “get out of town,” and “go home,” convoy opponents told Global News they had turned out to tell the protesters they weren’t welcome in the city.

Vancouver police attended the scene and told Global News officers cleared the intersection and the vehicle protest left the city.

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No one was arrested, police said.

Click to play video: '12 people arrested as police clear protest blockades at Pacific Highway border crossing'
12 people arrested as police clear protest blockades at Pacific Highway border crossing

In Victoria, police said Belleville Street was closed at Douglas Street, as the city also played host to the latest in a string of COVID-19 mandate protests.

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Saturday was the second time anti-vaccine mandate protesters have targeted the Pacific Highway crossing.

A similar convoy descended on Highway 15 last week, shutting the border crossing for several days before police arrested a dozen people.

The convoy protesters maintain they are taking the streets for freedom, and have compared vaccine mandates and other COVID-19 measures to tyranny and communism.

Saturday’s protests come as police in Ottawa continue to clear an entrenched demonstration that law enforcement and municipal, provincial and federal officials have all dubbed “unlawful.” More than 100 people have been arrested so far.

Read more: Ottawa police use anti-riot weapons on convoy protesters, arrest 170

Earlier this week Prime Minister Justin Trudeau took the extraordinary step of invoking the never-before-used Emergencies Act, giving police and financial regulators exceptional powers to deal with the protest and blockades that have stretched across the country for weeks.

If MPs do not vote to approve the act on Monday, the emergency powers will expire.

Click to play video: 'Dozens arrested as police clearing the streets of Ottawa'
Dozens arrested as police clearing the streets of Ottawa

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