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Coquitlam man charged for assaulting media at 2022 border protest

RCMP launched an investigation after police were called to a protest that turned "aggressive" at Surrey's Pacific Highway crossing.
film camera getty images
A camera operator was allegedly assaulted. | Getty Images

A 56-year-old Coquitlam man has been charged with assault after he allegedly hit a member of the media during a border protest last year.

Mounties said Vojislav Zmukic was arrested earlier this month, but later released on an undertaking until a March court date.

In a release today (Feb. 24), spokesperson Cpl. Vanessa Munn said Zmukic was identified as a suspect in the Surrey RCMP serious crime unit's investigation.

The case stemmed from a protest near the Pacific Highway border crossing on Feb. 19, 2022.

The event, which took place at the intersection of 8 Avenue and Highway 15 (176 Street) in Surrey, saw hundreds raise their voices in opposition of the then COVID-19 travel restrictions between Canada and the U.S.

RCMP closed access to the crossing as a result of the crowd.

Though peaceful at first, media members who showed up were surrounded by "aggressive" protesters, police said.

It was alleged that a camera operator was assaulted while filming the crowd, and officers needed to intervene to ensure all media safely got back to their vehicles.

"These kinds of acts of aggression and intimidation towards media, or any member of the public, are simply unacceptable," said Sgt. Elenore Sturko in a statement that followed the protest.

"While it is not always safe for our officers to take immediate enforcement action at the time of the alleged offences based on the size of the crowd of protesters, these incidents will be fully investigated and could lead to subsequent arrests or charges."

Police followed up with reporters and camera operators to gather witness statements and video evidence as part of the investigation.

Zmukic was charged on Feb. 15 with one count of assault.

He's scheduled to appear in Surrey Provincial Court on March 3, according to B.C. online court services.

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