Fredericton Police Chief Roger Brown told CBC extra police officers from around New Brunswick province will convene in the capital on Friday when a rally against oppressive pandemic policies is expected to begin outside the state legislature building in downtown Fredericton.
“We are not going to tolerate trucks in the downtown core in any way, shape, or form,” Brown said on February 10.
The CBC said it witnessed Fredericton municipal workers on Thursday erect concrete barriers to block off access to the city's main downtown area, including “Queen Street between the Cenotaph and St. John Street.”
Police in the capital advised Fredericton residents to “avoid the protest area unless absolutely necessary.”
“Protesters are going to be made very well aware that we will have a perimeter set up down around the legislature building where they can protest peacefully,” Brown told reporters.
The police chief reiterated that activists hoping to participate in the demonstration “won't be permitted to stop traffic in the downtown area or cause gridlock in the city.”
Fredericton's rally was scheduled to begin on Friday, February 11. Its organizers indicated via social media that the event had the potential to last through the weekend or even “several days.” The demonstration is an offshoot of Canada's greater “Freedom Convoy,” which similarly protests against Chinese coronavirus vaccine mandates and other pandemic policies that infringe upon citizens' freedoms. The organized assembly launched in late January and involves thousands of commercial truckers forming convoys to block strategic trade routes throughout Canada. The movement has traveled across Canada since it began and extended to the Canada-U.S. border near the U.S. state of Michigan at press time Friday.
Fredericton's protest on February 11 was expected to draw hundreds of participants, including a large group of commercial truckers and drivers of other motor vehicles who allegedly “promised in a promotional blurb … [to] ‘gridlock' the city,” CBC reported on February 10.
“If we have cars or pickup trucks that decide to use their vehicles to block roads, they're going to be moved,” Fredericton Police Chief Brown told reporters on February 10. “If not, we'll move them and there will be fines levied with respect to that,” he warned.
Brown forbade people from attempting to aid truckers during the demonstration by providing them with “supplies, food or fuel.”
“That will be stopped in no uncertain terms,” he said.