Date: November 22, 2021
On Sunday November 21, 2021 at 3:30 PM, a Traffic Safety Unit officer came across a group on Highway 17 that had gathered in the northbound travel lanes, holding signs and impeding traffic. They created an immediate safety risk for themselves and all that were travelling along Hwy 17. As a result, our officers closed the highway and began to assemble resources.
The Saanich Police had no prior knowledge of this unauthorized road closure and had not received any notification that it was going to take place.
The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms affords everyone the right to peaceful, safe and lawful assemblies. While the group was peaceful, their actions were neither safe nor lawful. While no arrests were made last night, our Major Crime Unit is conducting a criminal investigation which may result in a recommendation of charges to Crown Counsel.
Resolving incidents of this nature safely for the public, the police, and those causing the disruption requires considerable planning and specialized resources, including coordination with other emergency services to develop alternate routes. We acknowledge the significant impact that this incident had on members of our community and regret the inconvenience caused by this traffic disruption. We appreciate the patience and understanding shown by the community while police worked to ensure everyone’s safety.
Police are appealing to members of the public who may have obtained video of this incident or who have other witness information to support the criminal investigation. Witnesses may contact the Saanich Police non-emergency line at 250-475-4321 or Detective Leanne Rowan at [email protected].
Cst. Markus Anastasiades
Public Information and Communications Officer
Saanich Police Department