Regina Leader-Post

Police need to act on illegal blockades


On Feb. 15, a crowd of people occupied the Albert Street bridge and obstructed Regina commuters. It was the second Saturday in a row. More than one of the blockaders spoke to local media describing their strategy to disrupt Regina traffic.

The hazard and disrespect of this bridge blockade is self-evident. Aside from the hundreds of travellers, the blockers potentiall­y hindered firetrucks and ambulances. They frustrated important commuters like those taking food or medicine to shut-ins.

But even so, how was it right that parents taking children to evening events were treated this way?

The wonder of our free democracy is that it allows almost countless lawful ways for citizens to influence government. Those options include posters, websites, political parties, petitions and, ultimately, the vote. Protests can also be staged in law-abiding ways. Any civics class explains how these lawful actions have the power to change society. But these lawful steps also require thoughtful hard work. Road blockades do not.

For good reason, road blockades are illegal under several laws, including the Criminal Code offence of intimidati­on by road obstructio­n. They are wrong because they threaten people and their liberty. They are wrong because they disrespect democracy. Moreover, they are wrong because they imperil fundamenta­l law and order, which every person rightly craves and deserves.

In response to these blockades, commuters and their neighbours have a right to complain and demand charges. Police need to take action. More importantl­y, though, politician­s must stand on the rational and civilized side of this threatenin­g issue. Gerald Heinrichs, Regina

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