Skip to main content

U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers stand guard on the Pacific highway, near the border in Surrey, B.C., on Feb. 12.JENNIFER GAUTHIER/Reuters

Traffic was moving again Tuesday through the main commercial truck crossing between British Columbia and Washington state, hours after RCMP made numerous arrests and ordered an end to a demonstration against COVID-19 mandates.

Officers ordered demonstrators out of the area just north of the border crossing at Pacific Highway late Monday, said Surrey RCMP Const. Sarbjit Sangha.

A statement released by RCMP says 12 people had been arrested, adding to the four taken into custody for mischief on Sunday.

Those arrested began blocking routes leading to the truck crossing last week, but police said there were concerns that some people may try to stay until all pandemic-related mandates were lifted.

Trucker blockade at Coutts, Alta., border crossing winds down

“The public can expect to see a continued police presence in the area in the days ahead, with ongoing assessments of the situation,” the RCMP statement says.

Sangha said Mounties were monitoring southbound traffic at the crossing 50 kilometres south of Vancouver and are allowing commercial trucks to pass but will question drivers of private cars to ensure they plan to enter the United States.

Surrey RCMP took action after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau invoked the Emergencies Act, which would give the federal government temporary and extraordinary powers to deal with protests that have clogged Ottawa’s downtown core and shut down several border crossings this month.

Trudeau also said Canadians could be reassured that the Canada Border Services Agency was turning back non-Canadians trying to enter Canada to participate in blockades at several ports of entry across the country.

The agency had already turned back several people hoping to join the B.C. protest, a spokesman said in an emailed statement.

“By exercising existing enforcement authorities, the CBSA has directed some foreign nationals back to the United States and in other cases, travellers chose to leave Canada voluntarily,” Patrick Mahaffy said.

“Throughout the public order emergency, the mere intention to engage in unlawful demonstrations will, by itself, form a basis for the CBSA to deny entry to travellers,” he said.

Our Morning Update and Evening Update newsletters are written by Globe editors, giving you a concise summary of the day’s most important headlines. Sign up today.