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‘It’s draining’: landfill protest demands action from Manitoba government

Winnipeg’s most iconic intersection has made a number of headlines recently, but the latest activity downtown has nothing to do with the mayor’s plan to reopen Portage and Main to pedestrians.

Instead, a sea of people made their way to Portage and Main Friday morning as part of a protest led by the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs (AMC) to commemorate International Women’s Day and call for a search of the Prairie Green Landfill, just outside the city.

The landfill is where the remains of several Indigenous women — believed to be victims of an alleged serial killer — are thought to be located.

Searching the landfill has been a hot-button issue in Manitoba and across the country, leading to protests, blockades, and involvement from the federal, provincial and municipal governments.

Click to play video: 'Report details cost estimates, risks of proposed Manitoba landfill search for remains'

Report details cost estimates, risks of proposed Manitoba landfill search for remains

Jeremy Skibicki has been charged with first-degree murder in the deaths of Morgan Harris, Marcedes Myran and two others — Rebecca Contois, whose partial remains were found in a different landfill last year, and an unidentified woman, who is being referred to be Indigenous leaders as Mashkode Bizhiki’ikwe (Buffalo Woman).

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In a release Thursday announcing the protest, AMC — who submitted a report to government in January addressing safety concerns around an investigation at the landfill — called for an end to delays and an immediate start to the search at Prairie Green.

Click to play video: 'Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs, experts say landfill search could take less than a year'

Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs, experts say landfill search could take less than a year

Melissa Robinson, the cousin of Morgan Harris, said Friday the families are tired of waiting for government action.

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“It’s draining. It’s causing conflict among not only us, but also our supporters, our community,” Robinson said. “Because we’re tired of fighting for them to do the right thing. My cousin has been in that landfill for almost two… years. She needs to come home.”

Harris’ daughter Cambria, who has been one of the public faces of the movement in support of a search, called the lack of action a failure on the part of elected officials.

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“This system continues to fail our people over and over again. These very systems that are meant to protect us fail us,” she said. “Stop the bureaucracy and start recognizing us as basic human beings. That’s all we’re asking. ”

The Winnipeg event, which culiminated in speeches from the steps of the Manitoba legislature Friday morning, was one of many planned across the country, with similar protests planned in Vancouver, Edmonton, Ottawa, and Toronto.

Click to play video: 'Justice for families at ‘top of mind’ for landfill search, Manitoba premier says'

Justice for families at ‘top of mind’ for landfill search, Manitoba premier says

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