Nova Scotia

Arrests made at N.B.-N.S. border as RCMP break up blockade, reopen border

Arrests have been made as dozens of police officers moved to disperse a large group of protesters at the main border crossing between Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, just a day after a demonstration around border restrictions began.

Officers lined up on the roadway to create a barrier between citizens and the highway

RCMP officers move dozens of protestors to the side of the Trans-Canada Highway at the Nova Scotia-New Brunswick border on the evening of June 23, 2021. ( Jonathan Villeneuve/CBC)

Arrests have been made as dozens of police officers moved to disperse a large group of protesters at the main border crossing between Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, just a day after a demonstration around border restrictions began.

At least two people were arrested by RCMP around 8 p.m. AT Wednesday, as officers lined up on the roadway to create a barrier between citizens and the highway.

People yelled in protest over the move, but most followed police orders and moved to the side of the road.

"Our officers are … currently working on either clearing protestors out that are willing to leave at this point, and if not, they're being arrested," Cpl. Chris Marshall, a spokesperson for the Nova Scotia RCMP, said around 9:15 p.m.

Marshall could not say exactly how many people had been arrested, adding the number would likely change within the next few hours.

RCMP officers lead away one of the people they arrested at the border on June 23, 2021. (Adrien Blanc/CBC)

In a tweet around 9:40 p.m., the Nova Scotia RCMP said Highway 104 westbound had reopened toward New Brunswick from Nova Scotia, and the eastbound lane was expected to reopen shortly.

At 10:17 p.m., Nova Scotia's Transportation Department tweeted the border had reopened.

A smaller border crossing on Highway 366 in Tidnish was open in both directions. 

A handful of transport trucks were idling, waiting to cross from New Brunswick into Nova Scotia. Just before 9 p.m., the last of the remaining vehicles blocking the highway was removed and the trucks blew their horns as they crossed into Nova Scotia.

An RCMP officer stands on the highway Wednesday evening as officers moved to break up the blockade of people and vehicles at the N.B.-N.S. border (Jonathan Villeneuve/CBC)

The mood turned light, and some protesters spoke with the RCMP officers, while others packed up and left the area.

Protesters descended on the Trans-Canada Highway on Tuesday in response to new isolation and testing rules for people travelling to Nova Scotia from New Brunswick. The rules were announced by Nova Scotia Premier Iain Rankin Tuesday, only hours before the restrictions were expected to be lifted for the Atlantic provinces, prompting anger on both sides of the border.

The Mounties kept a presence at the border protest since it began, and encouraged protesters to leave the roadway, a spokesperson said earlier Wednesday.

By the time police moved in to stop the blockade, the group of protesters and bystanders had grown to about 150 people at the border.

The blockade had created chaos at the border and long waits throughout the day for drivers, left truckers stranded with loads of goods, and affected health services in Nova Scotia's Cumberland County.

Drivers at the other, less-busy border crossing at Tidnish, N.S., also tweeted about long delays there due to protesters.

With files from Adrien Blanc and Shaina Luck

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