Vancouver, March 20: Victoria in Victoria have established “controlled access points” in the city’s James Bay neighbourhood in preparation for convoy protests scheduled to arrive in the city this weekend.
The Victoria Police Department said in a statement Saturday that it would be limiting vehicle access to the neighbourhood to “local vehicles only.”
“VicPD supports every Canadian’s right to safe, peaceful and lawful protest,” the department said in the statement.
“Persons wishing to participate in protest are welcome to enter the area on foot, by bicycle or via BC Transit. Those with mobility concerns are asked to identify themselves to an officer at one of the access points so we can assist.”
Police said the vehicle restrictions would remain in place “as long as required to ensure public safety and to facilitate an environment for safe, peaceful and lawful protest.”
The move to limit access to James Bay and the B.C. legislature comes as organizers and supporters of the self-described “Freedom Convoy” that occupied downtown Ottawa for several weeks earlier this year continue to promise a similar occupation in Victoria.
B.C.’s capital city has seen “eight weeks of continuous disruptions involving vehicles, ‘slow-roll’ blockades and the use of horns, including modified air train and ship horns,” Victoria police said in their statement, alluding to the solidarity protests that have been held at the legislature since the Freedom Convoy began.
Police described these tactics as having “a significant and unlawful impact” on residents and businesses in the James Bay neighbourhood.
“Related protest events in other cities have seen a recent escalation in events, including confrontations between protest groups and confrontations with police,” VicPD said.
The department said it has also installed temporary surveillance cameras around the legislature, as it often does when large-scale protests are planned.