Protesters halt P.E.I. highway realignment, blocking large machinery

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CHARLOTTETOWN - Work on a realignment to the Trans Canada Highway in Prince Edward Island was halted Thursday after a small group of protesters showed up at the construction site and blocked machinery.

Protesters stood in front of forestry equipment at the site about 30 kilometres west of Charlottetown, forcing the project to cease operations for the day.

Protester Roy Johnstone said the group is trying to get more discussion going about the project.

Opponents say the $16-million project runs through arable fields and untouched woods, as well as a popular hiking trail and a fishing area.

RCMP Sgt. Andrew Blackadar says the project's opponents have legal options when it comes to trying to stop the project and people have the right to lawful assembly.

However, he says if the protesters continue to block equipment, police will "take some action."

Johnstone says he will continue the protest even if it means getting arrested, because his attempts to stop the project through legal methods haven't moved through the court system yet.

"We have to somehow slow the project up otherwise it's going to be done," he said.

A spokesperson for the Transportation Department says it plans to set up snow fencing around the work site to define the area any protesters would have to stay out of.

(Charlottetown Guardian)

Organizations: Trans Canada Highway, RCMP, Transportation Department

Geographic location: CHARLOTTETOWN, Prince Edward Island

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