Victoria police say they are limiting vehicle access to the neighbourhood near the British Columbia legislature ahead of anticipated protests against COVID-19 measures. 

A statement Saturday says police will establish “controlled access points” in the James Bay area that limits traffic to local vehicles only.

Police did not give details on how long these controlled access points would last.

It says the department supports the rights of Canadians to safe, peaceful and lawful protests but adds protesters can travel to the area on foot, bicycle or transit.

It says previous weeks of ongoing protests have had “significant and unlawful impact on residents and businesses in James Bay and the B.C. Legislature area.”

The statement says related protests in other cities have seen escalations, including confrontations between protesters and police. 

Video posted on social media earlier this month said a procession of vehicles is on the way from Ottawa to Victoria with people preparing to stay for months to conduct multiple rolling protests. 

This drew sharp criticism from Premier John Horgan. He told a March 11 news conference that those involved need to “get a hobby” and “give their head a shake.” 

B.C. lifted its mask mandate earlier this month and plans to stop its COVID-19 vaccine passport program in April, although the province’s top doctor said the measures could be reinstated if there is a surge in cases.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 19, 2022.

The Canadian Press