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Anti-vax mandate truck protest blocks US-Canada border near Minnesota

It's one of the busiest crossings along the U.S.-Canada border.
The "Freedom Caravan" while in Ottawa on Jan. 31.

The "Freedom Caravan" while in Ottawa on Jan. 31.

A group of Canadian truckers, lashing out at the government's ongoing COVID-19 restrictions, has blocked all traffic at a border crossing near Minnesota.

Videos and photos from social media early Thursday show a long line of trucks and tractors clogging up the roads at the Pembina-Emerson border crossing. Pembina, North Dakota is located right along the Minnesota border, with the actual crossing station itself about 1,500 feet from the state line.

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police said just after 9 a.m. a "large number of vehicles & farm equipment is blocking the Emerson Port of Entry.. Traffic can't get through in either direction and the Point of Entry is currently shut down.

The blockage is on the Canadian side of the border.

The Emerson-Pembina border crossing was the sixth-busiest for truck traffic in 2020, according to Department of Transportation data, with more than 440,000 entry crossings that year.

This is the most recent border crossing targeted by the anti-COVID vaccine trucking group in recent weeks. The drivers are protesting new government regulations that went into effect Jan. 15, which require many workers who cross into Canada — including long-haul truck drivers — to show they are fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

Those who aren't vaccinated have to quarantine for 14 days, but this will only impact a minority of truck drivers, with the Canadian Trucking Alliance estimating that only 10% of truckers in Canada are unvaccinated.

Since then, dozens of trucks and supporting vehicles — dubbed the "Freedom Convoy" — have rumbled from Ottawa westward, jamming up frequently trafficked U.S.-Canada border crossings to express displeasure with the vaccine requirement, while being urged on by far-right media outlets, politicians, and donors.

Reuters reported this week that these protests could disrupt the automotive and agricultural supply chains.

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