A planned anti-vaccine mandate protest led to the shutdown of the Pacific Highway Border Crossing in Surrey by police on Saturday, Feb. 19, while a related event in Langley was cancelled by organizers.
Surrey RCMP announced the shutdown of the border crossing.
“Due to increased protest activity in the area, 176th Street is currently closed to all traffic from 8th Avenue,” the RCMP statement said.
“As a preventative measure, and to help ensure public and officer safety, vehicle and pedestrians cannot access the Pacific Highway Border Crossing at this time.’
People were advised “to use alternate border crossings during this service disruption until further notice.”
In a related development, an online notice from organizers said a pro-convoy drive from Langley had been cancelled “due to [a] border event,” a reference to the protest at the border crossing scheduled for the same day.
The Langley parking lot that organizers had planned to use as a gathering place was closed, too, apparently by the owners.
Barriers with “private property, no trespassing” signs were set up at the entrances to the parking lot in North Langley at 200th Street and 91A Avenue, with security guards present.
A small group of protesters who hadn’t seen the cancellation notice gathered across the street from the Langley location, saying they would likely try to take part in the border protest instead.
Most declined to give their names, but said they were not deterred by the news of arrests in Ottawa, where police have moved in to end a four-week protest.
“We’re not going to be scared,” said a woman from Coquitlam.
“We’re fighting for freedom.”
“We have rights,” said a woman from Burnaby.
“It’s all about rights,” said a man from Maple Ridge.
Dean Sloat, who drove in from Mission, said he would likely head for the border crossing demonstration.
“I’m here for democracy,” Sloat said.
The blocked-off parking lot in Langley had been the scene of a massive protest to support the Ottawa convoy in late January, with hundreds of vehicles filling the space.
The next time demonstrators tried to use the site as a marshalling area, in early February, they arrived to find the entrances blocked off, with security on site.
Some vehicles ended up parking at neighbouring parking lots while others stopped along the streets next to the blocked-off lot or kept circling until the start of the drive into Vancouver.
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