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Protesters broke through RCMP barricades, causing highway closure near Pacific Border

SURREY, B.C.
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The Canadian and American flags are seen at the Canada/USA border in Surrey, B.C. The main route to the Pacific Highway border crossing in Surrey was closed Saturday afternoon after protesters opposed to vaccine mandates and other COVID-19 measures broke through RCMP barricades and began driving the wrong way down 176 Street.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan

SURREY, B.C. — The main route to the Pacific Highway border crossing in Surrey was closed Saturday afternoon after protesters opposed to vaccine mandates and other COVID-19 measures broke through RCMP barricades and began driving the wrong way down 176 Street.

The RCMP says in a press release that the "behaviour is not being tolerated" and is being investigated.

There were no reported injuries, but the Surrey RCMP says the drivers could have caused harm to pedestrians and first responders.

It says officers are working with other provincial and federal departments as well as the Canadian Border Services to investigate and work to restore usual traffic flow in the region.

RCMP Sgt. Maureen Hickey confirmed no arrests have yet been made.

The Canada Border Services Agency says that while the Pacific Highway border is still open, travellers should use "an alternative processing site" until the road clears.

The Surrey Board of Trade and the Surrey Chamber of Commerce both issued statements speaking out against the protesters' actions.

"The impact of these blockades is choking already impacted supply chains, businesses and jobs," the Board of Trade said in a statement. "This is an unacceptable sabotage of the economy."

The Chamber of Commerce echoed this in a statement, calling for more action by governing bodies. It said COVID-19 and extreme weather caused labour shortages and supply chain disruptions, and the protests are adding to the strain and preventing economic recovery.

"Allowing these illegal closures to continue will also have serious economic and reputational consequences for the years ahead," it said.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 12, 2022.

— By Brieanna Charlebois in Vancouver.

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This story was produced with the financial assistance of the Facebook and Canadian Press News Fellowship.

The Canadian Press

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