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Trucker protest blocks Pembina-Emerson border on Canadian side

Protests have blocked the international crossing between Emerson, Manitoba, and Pembina, North Dakota, stopping traffic in northbound and southbound lanes on the Canadian side, according to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

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Trucks and farm equipment lined up on Feb. 10 on the Canadian side of the Pembina-Emerson border crossing in protest of U.S. and Canadian requirements for truck drivers to be vaccinated against to cross the border.
Submitted photo / Yness Boily
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PEMBINA, N.D. — Protests regarding vaccine requirements for truck drivers blocked the international crossing between Emerson, Manitoba, and Pembina, North Dakota, on Thursday. The protests stopped traffic in northbound and southbound lanes on the Canadian side into the evening, according to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

Canadian truckers have been protesting Canadian and American policies requiring truck drivers to be vaccinated against COVID-19 that went into effect in January.

In a tweet on Thursday morning, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police said vehicles and farm equipment are blocking the Emerson Port of Entry. RCMP are on the scene and are asking people to avoid the area.

Late Thursday evening, the Canada Border Services Agency announced that while the Emerson, Manitoba-Pembina, North Dakota port of entry remains open, travelers should expect delays due to protest activities in the area.

The International Peace Garden Border Crossing, also known as the Dunseith–Boissevain Border Crossing, Sprague-Warroad and North Portal-Portal ports of entry are the closest alternative processing sites for commercial traffic. Due to evolving circumstances, however, travelers are encouraged to reference the CBSA website to confirm commercial servicing at either site in real time, the agency said in a news release.

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Simon Resch, owner of the duty-free shop in Emerson, said he received notification Wednesday night from the RCMP and Canada Border Services Agency that a convoy of truckers intending to shut down the border crossing on the Canadian side of the border was on its way.

“For the last couple of weeks, we’ve had convoys on the highway at the Emerson border, but not with the specific intent in mind to shut down all traffic and trade between the two nations,” said Resch. “That changed last night.”

border blockade06.JPG
Trucks and farm equipment lined up on Feb. 10 on the Canadian side of the Pembina-Emerson border crossing in protest of U.S. and Canadian requirements for truck drivers to be vaccinated against to cross the border.
Submitted photo / Yness Boily

On Thursday afternoon, he said trucks, tractors and passenger vehicles were parked on all four lanes and shoulders of the highway, completely blocking traffic from leaving or entering Canada. He said neither the RCMP nor protesters had communicated a dispersal time for the blockade as of early afternoon.

“So it looks like they’re out there today, and in all likelihood will be there through the weekend and into next week or as long as it lasts,” said Resch.

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With no dispersal time set for the blockade, Resch expects anti-vaccine protesters to continue blocking the border for days.
Contributed / Simon Resch

While vehicles are still permitted to cross into Canada at the Pembina-Emerson crossing, the blockade on the Canadian side was them from getting very far into the country, said Chris Misson, a U.S. Border Patrol agent.

“Any commercial trucks that do go north are coming back into the US to try and find a different location to go north,” Misson said on Thursday afternoon.

border blockade01.JPG
Trucks and farm equipment lined up on Feb. 10 on the Canadian side of the Pembina-Emerson border crossing in protest of U.S. and Canadian requirements for truck drivers to be vaccinated against to cross the border.
Submitted photo / Yness Boily

In Neche, North Dakota, around 4 p.m. on Feb. 10, trucks were backed up on North Dakota Highway 18 ahead of the Neche-Gretna border crossing. Deanna Newell, owner of Action Parcels & Storage, said trucks are backed up to her store, which is a mile and a half away from the border. She said the line of trucks was not another protest, but truckers hoping to make it into Canada.

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"Everything's over here that would normally go through Pembina," she said.

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Trucks on their way to Canada lined up at the Neche-Gretna Border Crossing, a smaller crossing west of Pembina.
Contributed / Deanna Newell

The Pembina-Emerson crossing saw a similar slow roll protest on Jan. 17, when Canadian truckers lined up in North and Southbound lanes starting at 3 a.m., slowing down traffic moving into the United States.

Feb 10 Border Protest.jpg
Trucks and farm equipment lined up early on Feb. 10 on the Canadian side of the Pembina-Emerson border crossing in protest of U.S. and Canadian requirements for truck drivers to be vaccinated against to cross the U.S.-Canadian border.
Contributed / Simon Resch

Related Topics: U.S.-CANADIAN BORDER
Ingrid Harbo joined the Grand Forks Herald in September 2021.

Harbo covers Grand Forks region news, and also writes about business in Grand Forks and the surrounding area.

Readers can reach Harbo at 701-780-1124 or iharbo@gfherald.com. Follow her on Twitter @ingridaharbo.
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