The Pacific Highway Border Crossing into the U.S. has remained closed Sunday after a massive protest took place at the truck crossing Saturday afternoon.
DriveBC highway cameras show that police have created a vehicle barricade just before the border crossing, along Highway 15, at 9:21 a.m. The cameras also show a small gathering of vehicles on Highway 15 at 8 Avenue, however, the crowd dramatically dwindled compared to Saturday’s event.
Hundreds of protesters gathered along 176 Street southbound at 8 Avenue Saturday just a short distance from the Pacific Highway border crossing, to voice their discontent about COVID-19 rules and vaccine mandates.
On Saturday, Surrey RCMP said it will be investigating after protest vehicles breached a police barricade, driving the wrong way down 176 Street, during a “freedom convoy” at the crossing.
Drive BC camera footage from Saturday showed protesters walking freely toward the Pacific Highway border crossing after breaking through an RCMP barricade at 8 Avenue and 176 Street.
While Surrey RCMP Cpl. Vanessa Munn said protesters were “mainly peaceful, a few vehicles have breached police barricades, driving the wrong way down 176 Street.”
“While no injuries were reported as a result of the incident, this had the potential for harm to pedestrians and first responders. This kind of behavior will not be tolerated and is being investigated.”
Surrey RCMP are on scene and working to disperse the crowd, and officers are also working with other provincial and federal RCMP units, as well as Canada Border Services Agency.
Munn said the “RCMP’s objective is to restore the orderly flow of traffic in the safest manner possible.”
Munn said there is a “large police presence” and officers are continuing to monitor the situation.
“Motorists should expect significant traffic congestion in the area of 176 Street/8 Avenue,” Munn said, “Our priority remains keeping the peace and ensuring public safety.”
By about 5:45 p.m., Munn said there was still “significant” congestion, and “crowds are beginning to dissipate however there are still a number of individuals on foot in the area.”
Someone who said they were an organizer was redirecting traffic westbound on 16 Avenue toward 168 Street on Saturday, saying “they’re shutting it down.” He added that if people continued on down 176 Street, they wouldn’t be able to get back out.
At one point, traffic was backed up to at least 20 Avenue along 176 Street.
Drivers should avoid the area around the Pacific Highway border crossing as the “3rd Lower Mainland Freedom Convoy” arrived in South Surrey Saturday (Feb. 12) after starting in Chilliwack earlier in the morning.
Protesters have been at the Pacific Highway Border Crossing for the past several days. It comes after two weeks of convoys from Langley driving to downtown Vancouver. Last week, counter-protesters on bicycles disrupted the convoy route when it arrived in Vancouver.
The protest at the Pacific Highway border was inspired by the main protest in the nation’s capital.
A convoy of trucks has locked down sections of Ottawa in protest of the federal government mandate on vaccination for truckers entering and exiting the country.
Since then protests have erupted at border crossings across the country, most notably at the Ambassador Bridge that connects Windsor and Detroit.
On Friday, Ontario Premier Doug Ford declared a state of emergency that will allow his cabinet to impose $100,000 fines and up to one year in jail as punishments against people who continue to illegally block roads, bridges, walkways and other critical infrastructure.
A judge also issued an injunction giving protesters blocking cross-border traffic at the Ambassador Bridge until 7 p.m. Friday to clear out, however, the deadline came and went with the demonstrators both at the bridge and in Ottawa still vowing to stay put until their demands are met.
– With files from Aaron Hinks, The Canadian Press