Far-right groups, counter-protesters rally over asylum seekers at Canada-U.S. border

Duelling protests are being held this afternoon at the Canada-U.S. border crossing in Saint-Bernard-de-Lacolle, Que.

Far-right groups are protesting against the arrival of asylum seekers at illegal crossings, such as nearby Roxham Road.

They are holding up signs denouncing what they call “illegal immigration.”

Counter-protesters from groups including Solidarity Across Borders are also on site to show their support for the new arrivals amid a heavy police presence.

The protests are causing disruptions at the border during the busy holiday weekend.

At one point, Quebec provincial police were forced to block off Highway 15 in both directions, not far from the U.S. border.

The two sides have held rallies at the border before, including last year on Canada Day.

More than 7,600 people have entered Canada outside official border crossings so far this year.

The bulk of those have crossed in Quebec at Roxham Road.

Earlier Saturday, a group of residents gathered to show their support for asylum seekers.

Jeff Turner, an engineer who lives nearby with his young family, said he was eager to present a counterpoint to the far-right protest.

He said the vast majority of people aren’t nearly as “angry and unwelcoming” as those who get most of the attention.

“Most of us are just regular people that can sympathize with folks coming from a different part of the world with young families that are just trying to make ends meet,” he said.

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