Drive BC Camera footage shows protesters marching freely toward the Pacific Highway border crossing after breaking through an RCMP barricade at 8th Avenue and 176th Street on Saturday afternoon (February 12).
Hundreds of protesters gathered along southbound 176th Street at 8th Avenue, a short distance from the Pacific Highway border crossing to express their displeasure over COVID-19 rules and mandates vaccination.
Previously, protesters were stuck at 8 Avenue, leading to the border crossing. But Drive BC camera footage from around 3:30 p.m. shows protesters marching toward the crossing along 176th Street, blocking vehicle access.
RCMP are on site and are working to disperse the crowd.
Surrey RCMP Corporal Vanessa Munn said there was a “heavy police presence” and officers were continuing to monitor the situation.
“Motorists should expect a heavy traffic jam in the 176th Street/8th Avenue area,” Munn said, “our priority remains to keep the peace and ensure public safety.”
Someone who said he was an organizer was redirecting westbound traffic on 16th Avenue to 168th Street, saying “they’re closing it.” He added that if people continued on 176th Street, they would not be able to get out.
At one point, traffic was blocked at least to 20th Avenue along 176th Street.
Drivers should avoid the area around the Pacific Highway border crossing as the ‘3rd Lower Mainland Freedom Convoy’ arrived in South Surrey on Saturday (February 12) after starting in Chilliwack earlier in the morning.
Protesters have been at the Pacific Highway border crossing for several days. This comes after two weeks of convoys from Langley heading into downtown Vancouver. Last week, counter-protesters on bicycles disrupted the route of the convoy as it arrived in Vancouver.
The Pacific Highway border protest was inspired by the main protest in the nation’s capital.
A convoy of trucks locked down sections of Ottawa to protest the federal government’s mandate on vaccinating truckers entering and leaving the country.
Since then, protests have erupted at border crossings across the country, including 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 a year in jail to punish people who continue to unlawfully block roads, bridges, walkways and other critical infrastructure.
A judge also issued an injunction allowing protesters to block cross-border traffic at the Ambassador Bridge until 7 p.m. Friday to clear, however, the deadline has come and gone with protesters both at the bridge and in Ottawa still swearing to stay put until their demands are met.
– With files from Aaron Hinks, The Canadian Press