Quebec protesters block St Bernard de Lacolle border crossing

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Quebec protesters block St Bernard de Lacolle border crossing
Members of Storm Alliance demonstrate during an anti-immigration protest in Saint-Bernard-de-Lacolle, Que., Saturday, May 19, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes

SAINT-BERNARD-DE-LACOLLE, Que:  Protesters blocked access to a major Quebec-New York border crossing Saturday afternoon near where thousands of asylum seekers have crossed the border irregularly in recent months.

Members of Solidarity Without Borders said their gathering at the Lacolle border was a show of welcome to the refugee claimants and an attempt to block a demonstration by a rival group.

They called for open borders and denounced the policies of right-wing group Storm Alliance, which had planned a rival protest against what it describes as illegal immigration.

As of mid-afternoon, it was unclear if any members of Storm Alliance were on site.

The RCMP says some 7,300 asylum seekers have crossed the border between January and April at a popular irregular crossing a few kilometres from Lacolle.

Last year, some 19,000 people crossed the border into Quebec to claim refugee status.