Highway blockade gains ground as it inches toward Pembina, N.D.
EMERSON, Mb. (KVRR) – Royal Canadian Mounted Police say at least 50 vehicles are being used to block Highway 75 at the Emerson, Manitoba Port of Entry. It leads to I-29 in Pembina, North Dakota. People are protesting Canadian vaccine and mask mandates during the so called “Freedom Convoy.”
Truck drivers have been setting up blockades along several ports of entry to the U.S. to protest Canada’s COVID-19 restrictions and mandatory vaccinations for commercial truck drivers.
The RCMP says protestors have not resorted to violence yet but police want to open a dialogue in order to fill their needs.
“Basically establish some kind of dialogue to see like what is your intent? What do you want? How long are you planning this? Just to kind of get the ball rolling on what their needs are and what our needs are,” says Sgt. Paul Manaigre of the RCMP.
Emergency vehicles are being let through but the protestors plan to be by the Emerson border for the long haul.
“They’re fully committed to staying there until one of the governments, either the provincial or the federal government is willing to sit down and have a meeting and talk about the mandates,” said Curt Toews, a reporter from Winnipeg Alternative Media.
It’s affecting Neche, North Dakota, which is 20 miles west of Pembina, as people look for more entries to block. The town’s Fire Department warns drivers going in and out of Pembina, Cavalier and Walhalla about using alternate routes, especially if your car has low clearance as the routes are not made for regular travel. The international protests are also a blow to the auto industry. Trade between the two countries through the closed off Ambassador Bridge between Windsor, Ontario and Detroit is common.
“About 25 percent of trade between the two countries. And so the blockade poses a risk to the supply chains for the auto industry because the bridge is a key conduit for motor vehicles components, parts and delays risk disrupting auto production,” says White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki.
RCMP officers urge people to remain calm until things slow down.
“Just urge everyone to have patience. We know this is frustrating for a lot of people. Changes are coming especially with restrictions being loosened around the country,” said Manaigre.
The RCMP advise drivers to use alternate roads to their destination. Police will be involved if emergency vehicles are blocked on the highway.