Vehicles clear out after police ultimatum, protesters set up in Memorial Park

Click to play video: 'Protesters clear out vehicles as police deadline passes'
Protesters clear out vehicles as police deadline passes
As a 5 p.m. police deadline passed, most protest vehicles had cleared from the area outside the Manitoba Legislative Building. Brittany Greenslade looks at how vehicles are leaving, but protesters aren't – Feb 23, 2022

Most protester vehicles have left the Broadway and Memorial area but some demonstrators remained at Memorial Park after a Wednesday deadline for vehicles to leave.

Police warned demonstrators at Broadway and Memorial Boulevard — part of a weeks-long anti-vaccine mandate protest — that they needed to vacate the area by 5 p.m. or risk criminal charges.

Demonstrators who don’t comply could be charged with intimidation and mischief under the Criminal Code, and could potentially face charges under city bylaws, as well as the Manitoba Highway Traffic Act.

At a press conference Wednesday, Const. Rob Carver said police have remained consistent in their approach to negotiating with the protesters, something he said has been successful.

“I’m confident to say the end date looks like it is now approaching and we’re going to wrap this up,” Carver said.

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“I believe that how the Winnipeg Police Service has dealt with this has been the most effective balance between the rights of protesters and the safety of everyone involved as well as minimizing the impact on the community.”

Click to play video: 'The scene at the Winnipeg protest early Wednesday morning'
The scene at the Winnipeg protest early Wednesday morning

Read more: Winnipeg police give protesters eviction notice after three-week demonstration

Carver said he doesn’t expect charges to be laid against the protesters, as long as they continue to comply.

“What we see this morning is movement that suggests to us that (movement) is going to be unfolding as we hoped,” he said.

“I don’t foresee the sort of scenario in Ottawa. If everyone is either in compliance — or in the process of complying, then I don’t see charges would be forthcoming.”

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Carver said repeatedly that police want to avoid any heavy-handedness or a situation where they have to physically remove protesters from the scene.

“If we have people moving to areas that are not blocking traffic, they’re on public land…  if that’s the situation, I think we’ll have to look at it as it unfolds.

“…with the overriding view that what we’ve been doing is what we want to continue to be doing.”

In a statement Wednesday, protest organizers said while “long-distance trucks are leaving Memorial Boulevard and Broadway,” the group intends to focus on setting up an ongoing protest at Memorial Park.

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They continue to demand dialogue with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and expressed concerns about his invocation of the federal Emergencies Act.

Protest organizer Caleb Brown speaks to media. Global News

Organizer Caleb Brown told media Wednesday that although the trucks are moving out, the protesters who intend to stay in the park will pay for street parking for their personal vehicles if they have to, in order for the demonstration to continue.

“We believe that there’s still dialogue that needs to happen,” Brown said.

“We don’t feel like we’re losing. I understand how people could think that. We’re pivoting. The heart behind what we’re doing hasn’t changed — the trucks started it, but it wasn’t about the trucks.

“We felt like the truckers wanted to be here, they came for a reason, now they have peace in going and we’re going to continue this the way we feel we have to.”

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Click to play video: 'Winnipeg police give protesters eviction notice after nearly three-week demonstration'
Winnipeg police give protesters eviction notice after nearly three-week demonstration

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