RCMP say main U.S. border crossing in Manitoba closed by convoy protest

By The Canadian Press and CityNews Staff

A protest against COVID-19 restrictions has blocked the main border crossing between Manitoba and the United States.

David Carlson, reeve of the Emerson-Franklin rural municipality, says a few dozen rigs, pickups and other vehicles are not allowing anything through except livestock.

He says RCMP have been trying to talk to the protesters, but it appears to be a loosely organized protest with no official spokesperson.

RCMP say the port of entry has been shut down and motorists should avoid the area.

Carlson says one concern is emergency response teams, which share duties on both sides of the rural border area. An issue that was backed by RCMP officer Paul Manaigre.

Manaiger says criminal charges under the highway traffic act for impeding traffic could be applied to those participating in the block aid however that is at the discretion of the RCMP says Manaigre, adding the main concern is the potential impact traffic blocks could have on emergency vehicles and ambulances trying to move through the area.

“We’re going to have a zero-tolerance for that kind of block aid or anything and were going to make it aware if that kind of impedance on these of vehicles occurs most certainly you will either see arrests or charges,” said Mainigre, adding the RCMP is trying to establish communication with the organizer of the event to determine what their intentions are.

“Everyone has the right to have their voice heard in this country, that’s what it’s all about, but at the same time also want to make sure that people can come and go as they need to especially our emergency services and citizens here,” added Carlson.

Ron Koslowsky, with the Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters association, is calling for an end to the blockade and says people should not be allowed to hold the economy at ransom.

But Manaigre says RCMP will stay in the area into the evening and overnight if required, to make sure both protestors and anti-protestors conduct themselves peacefully.

-With files from Mark Neufeld, CityNews

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