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Carbon price protest triggers multi-vehicle crash near Crowsnest Pass: RCMP

Thousands of people gathered across Canada on Monday to protest a hike in the federal carbon price and RCMP said one of those gatherings triggered a collision in southwestern Alberta.

On Monday afternoon, RCMP said about 50 vehicles were at an approved carbon tax protest site in the Crowsnest Pass region.

“En route to the protest site, five large farm tractors caused a multi-vehicle collision. They refused to stop for police when a traffic stop was attempted,” RCMP said in an update Tuesday.

The incident serves as a reminder that protesting on a public highway is not safe, police said.

The update came as demonstrators gather for a second day west of Calgary.

Hundreds of people, many waving Canadian and Alberta flags and holding “axe the tax” signs, blocked the Trans-Canada Highway down to a single lane. RCMP officers were on hand to monitor the event.

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Anti-carbon tax protesters wave signs and chant slogans as they block a westbound lane of the Trans Canada highway near Cochrane, Alta., Monday, April 1, 2024. Jeff McIntosh, The Canadian Press

Alberta RCMP said Tuesday officers have been working with the protestors on Highway 1, west of Cochrane, over the past 24 hours to ensure they can protest safely and lawfully.

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Mounties said the protesters have been advised officers will be at the scene to ensure they remain off the highway and do not impede the flow of traffic along an extremely busy corridor.

On Monday afternoon, traffic had to be diverted for a few hours from the major Alberta highway. Similar traffic disruptions were experienced across Canada.

Click to play video: 'Highway between New Brunswick and Nova Scotia shutdown due to carbon pricing protest'

Highway between New Brunswick and Nova Scotia shutdown due to carbon pricing protest

RCMP said it respects and supports the rights of Canadians to peacefully and lawfully as per the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

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“We do not take enforcement action lightly, but the safety of motorists, protesters and a traveller’s right to use a public highway must be maintained. It is extremely unsafe to stand or impede traffic on a public roadway,” RCMP said.

Police said it is unlawful for drivers to stop or park a vehicle on a highway unless the vehicle has broken down, an emergency has arisen, or the vehicle was pulled over by the police.

The protest near Cochrane, organized by a group called Nationwide Protest Against Carbon Tax, was one of about 15 that took place across the country.

Protesters against the carbon price gather along Highway 1 near Hope, B.C. on April 1, 2024. Global News

Some provinces have called on the federal government to cancel the carbon tax hike because of the affordability crisis. Trudeau has said the increase also means larger quarterly rebate cheques.

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Alberta was hit with another hike Monday as the provincial government fully reinstated its fuel tax, meaning an increase of four cents per litre.

The tax was suspended for all of 2023 and partially reinstated this January.

Click to play video: 'Alberta hit two-fold with federal carbon tax increase, reinstated provincial fuel tax'

Alberta hit two-fold with federal carbon tax increase, reinstated provincial fuel tax

— with files from Bill Graveland, The Canadian Press

&© 2024 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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