RCMP expect protests at southeast Sask. border crossings

The Saskatchewan RCMP expect protests at the North Portal and Northgate points of entry at the Canada-U.S. border over the long weekend.

RCMP released a statement on Thursday saying local residents would see an increased police presence in the area. The statement did not disclose operation details out of safety concerns, but said police preferred to use communication and a measured response to keep traffic flowing.

“We are making extensive efforts to engage with all stakeholders before and during the demonstrations to ensure everyone involved is aware of the current legal boundaries of a peaceful and lawful protest,” the statement reads.

“Demonstrations may interrupt the normal flow of traffic. Our objective in policing any demonstrations this weekend is to work to restore the orderly flow of traffic in the safest manner possible.”

Members of the public should check for road closures information before travelling. They are also advised monitor local media reports and consider alternate routes.

RCMP say demonstrators who do not have access to a staging area on private land will be turned away.

The North Portal and Northgate border crossings are both in the southeast corner of the province.

The Village of North Portal issued a statement saying they expect 60 to 80 semi-trucks and up to 120 passenger vehicles to start protesting on Friday. The statement says land owners have granted event organizers permission to use private land located by Hwy 39 for camping and gatherings.

The village council said they would remain neutral during the event. Council told residents they have no idea how long the protest will last.

Council members have discussed the protest with the Estevan RCMP. They anticipate officers to be onsite 24 hours a day. Those officers will monitor traffic flow into the village from Hwy 39 and the grid roads east of the community.

The village will not provide public services to the protestors, such as water, lagoon use, garbage removal, public building rental, or other regular village services.

Premier Scott Moe took to social media last week encouraging protestors to keep the province’s border crossings open. Moe said residents have the right to peacefully protest, but those events should not restrict the freedom of their fellow citizens.

“Trucks crossing the border are driving our economy by carrying Saskatchewan goods to U.S. markets and bringing products and materials into this province that we need to run our farms, build our canola crush plants, our potash mines, our forestry mills, and every other part of our economy,” Moe wrote. “The people in those trucks and other vehicles crossing the border are your fellow Canadians. They are your Saskatchewan friends and neighbours. Don’t advocate for your freedoms by obstructing theirs.”

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