Manitoba

Downtown Winnipeg residents losing patience with convoy protest noise

Residents who live near the convoy protest outside the Manitoba Legislative Building say they're frustrated with the noise from blaring horns as the the protest enters its fourth day.

Police say no tickets have been handed out to any protesters

Tanys Dopson, 70, says she's frustrated with the constant the noise of blaring horns from the convoy protest in front of the Manitoba Legislative Building. (Marina Von Stackelberg/CBC)

One downtown resident says she wants protesters parked in front of the Manitoba Legislative Building since last Friday to move on. 

"The non-stop blaring of horns, and some idiot over there has a train horn, and he'll blast for 10 minutes at a time. And it's loud," said Tanys Dopson.

The 70-year-old lives in an apartment near the provincial legislature, where a protest against vaccine mandates and pandemic restrictions has stretched into its fourth day.

Protesters have said they have no intention of leaving anytime soon, and Dopson says the noise from morning until night has begun to wear on her nerves.

"I don't get headaches that often, but the incessant noise is just giving me, just a huge headache. And it's frustrating," she said.

Another woman who lives in Dopson's building was wearing a mask while walking her dog nearby, she said.

"A couple of the truckers called her 'diaper face' and made fun of her for wearing her masks. She wound up in tears," Dopson said.

Michael Johnson lives a few blocks away and says he is having trouble working from home.

"The police absolutely need to do something about it," he  said.

No tickets

A video posted on the Facebook page by one of the protest organizers shows fireworks being set off in the middle of the street in front of the legislature.  A fireworks display permit from the fire department is required to set off fireworks, according to city regulations.

Winnipeg police say they have received numerous noise complaints,  but so far, no tickets and or charges have been laid against any of the protesters.

"We are working with the organizers to lessen the impact on residents and businesses in the area, and police are in regular contact with them," police spokesperson Rob Carver said in an email statement.

Ben Ashley, who has been at the legislature since Friday, says the protesters are being respectful.

"Eleven o'clock rolls around and everybody that knows, you know, apartments around here, I can only imagine they don't want to be kept up all night. And we understand that. So, you know,  it's quiet time," he said.

"It's just … if you want to come down Broadway, you've got to understand what you're going through. And there's lots of ways around this, but we have a message and that needs to be heard."

Protesters at an anti-restrictions rally in Winnipeg remained in the Broadway area all weekend. (CBC)

Myrna Zeaton works downtown and says she supports the protesters.

"I can imagine it gets annoying to those that do live here and can understand their issues but this is for a bigger issue. It's for everyone and sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do," she said.

CBC News asked protest organizers for comment, but they did not make anyone available to speak before deadline.

Politicians speak out

Several Manitoba politicians have raised concerns about the impact the protest is having on residents in the area.

In a news conference on Monday, Liberal Leader Dougald Lamont cited a post from a user on the online forum Reddit, purportedly a cancer patient whose food deliveries were cancelled because of the difficulty getting through the protest.

Three Manitoba politicians representing constituencies near the protest site released a joint statement expressing concern about the impact the protest is having on residents calling for it to end.

"Reported incidents in the downtown have increased including incidents of public and targeted  harassment including homophobia, racism and gender-based harassment," said the statement, signed by Winnipeg Centre MP Leah Gazan, Union Station MLA Uzoma Asagwara, and Fort Rouge-East Fort Garry Coun. Sherri Rollins.

In a statement on Monday, a spokesperson for Mayor Brian Bowman said he is aware of the video.

"He has heard from downtown residents and shares their concern about the disruptions to date, including noise. While police have indicated they are working with the organizers, Winnipeggers expect that laws will be enforced," the statement said.

Spokespeople for the City of Winnipeg and Province of Manitoba did not answer questions about how they plan to respond to the protesters, referring questions to the police.

One man was charged with multiple offences after hitting four people participating in the protest with his car on Friday. 

David Alexander Zegarac, of Headingley, was arrested and charged with four counts of assault with a weapon, failing to stop at the scene of an accident and dangerous operation of a vehicle causing bodily harm.

Zegarac was released from custody with conditions on  Saturday, and he has a court date set for March 22.

WATCH | Residents grow increasingly frustrated with noise from protesters

Residents grow increasingly frustrated with noise from protesters

8 months ago
Duration 2:09
People who live near the Manitoba Legislature say they've had it with the noise. Protesters opposed to pandemic restrictions have been set up on Broadway and Memorial since Friday. Residents say the protesters honk their horns from morning until late at night and even call them names for walking by wearing a mask.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Cameron MacLean is a journalist for CBC Manitoba living in Winnipeg, where he was born and raised. He has more than a decade of experience reporting in the city and across Manitoba, covering a wide range of topics, including courts, politics, housing, arts, health and breaking news. Email story tips to cameron.maclean@cbc.ca.

With files from Marina Von Stackelberg and Meaghan Ketcheson

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