Drive BC Camera footage shows protestors walking freely toward the Pacific Highway border crossing after breaking through an RCMP barricade at 8 Avenue and 176 Street Saturday afternoon (Feb. 12).
Hundreds of protesters gathered along 176 Street southbound at 8 Avenue just a short distance from the Pacific Highway border crossing to voice their discontent about COVID-19 rules and vaccine mandates.
Previously, protesters were blocked at 8 Avenue, leading up to the border crossing. But Drive BC camera footage from about 3:30 p.m. shows protesters walking toward the crossing along 176 Street, blocking vehicle access.
RCMP are on scene and working to disperse the crowd.
Surrey RCMP Cpl. Vanessa 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.”
Someone who said they were an organizer was redirecting traffic westbound on 16 Avenue toward 168 Street, 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