Vaccine-mandate protesters at two border crossings in Western Canada plan to leave after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government invoked emergency powers that could freeze their bank accounts and suspend their insurance.
A border crossing between Coutts, Alberta, and Sweet Grass, Montana, that had been closed Monday has partially reopened to traffic, Corporal Gina Slaney of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police said Tuesday by phone. Demonstrators have been at the border post since late January in a protest against vaccine mandates and COVID-19 restrictions.
“People are going home,” Slaney said, noting traffic is moving slowly as there are still vehicles on the road. “Vehicles can get through north and southbound lanes right now and it seems that vehicles are crossing the border.”
Demonstrators at a border crossing between Manitoba and North Dakota are also preparing to leave in unison Wednesday with a police escort, said Jake Klassen, a truck driver who joined the protest out of frustration he can’t visit his daughter, who is receiving palliative care, since he isn’t fully vaccinated. People are worried the government will seize their property and protesters plan to leave in a “slow roll” tomorrow, Klassen said by phone.
“A lot of grown men were crying,” Klassen said. “We didn’t think he was going to enact that. We could lose everything.”
The Manitoba border to the U.S. at Emerson, Manitoba, was still closed as of 4:14 p.m. New York time, according to the website of Canada’s border agency. Manitoba RCMP are coordinating the departure of remaining demonstrators and are confident it will be complete and border access restored by Wednesday, Sergeant Paul Manaigre said in an email.
“We accomplished something, I believe, but we didn’t accomplish what we went there to accomplish,” Klassen said.
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