A pickup truck sporting multiple Canadian flags and a “Fight for Freedom” sign was impounded on Saturday after it got stuck while the driver tried to drive through a field in Victoria’s signature park.
Victoria police limited vehicle access to the James Bay neighbourhood adjacent the B.C. legislature March 19 as another rolling protest against COVID-19 measures was set to descend on the area.
While residents of James Bay were allowed into the area, protesters and others were invited to park outside what police called a local access area and walk, bike or bus to the legislature and other neighbourhood spots.
A driver of a pickup truck claiming to be a James Bay resident tried to enter the area at an access point at Cook Street and Dallas Road. After the driver was turned away by officers, police were notified that the truck was trying to cross a field in Beacon Hill Park when it got stuck.
Officers learned the truck – with a snowmobile in its bed – had previously been issued a notice and order for a defect that needed an immediate remedy. The truck’s plates were seized and it was towed to an impound lot, police said. The driver was issued a $600 fine.
Victoria Police had previously announced the implementation of controlled access points in the James Bay area that will remain in effect as long as required to ensure public safety and to facilitate an environment for safe, peaceful and lawful protest.
“Eight weeks of continuous disruptions involving vehicles, “slow-roll” blockades and the use of horns, including modified air train and ship horns, has had a significant and unlawful impact on residents and businesses in James Bay and the B.C. Legislature area.”
Occupation is not protected under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, the release added.
Temporary CCTV cameras have been installed at the B.C. Legislature and will be taken down once the protest events have concluded.
VicPD was still enforcing the local access area as of Monday. Police said officers had spoken with several non-local drivers who tried to access the James Bay area on Sunday and Monday.
About 150 vehicles attempted to participate in another convoy protest near the legislature on Saturday, VicPD said. Most of those drivers parked in legal spots outside of the local access area and walked to the legislature, police said. Traffic was also temporarily halted on Saturday by a crowd of several hundred that marched down Douglas Street.
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