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'It brought me to tears': Rally takes over Portage and Main for landfill search, families feeling hopeful something will happen

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Protesters gathered at Portage and Main Thursday afternoon, as they continued to call on the government to search the Prairie Green Landfill.

A round dance started at the intersection at 2 p.m. with many people showing up carrying signs, flags and drums.

Some of the signs said "We Are Not Trash" and "Bring Our Women Home."

They also painted a giant red dress in the middle of the intersection, a symbol for missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls.

Protesters painting a giant red dress in the middle of Portage and Main. The painting is a symbol for missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls. (Aug. 3, 2023. Source: Danton Unger/CTV News)

The completed painting of a giant red dress in the middle of Portage and Main. The painting is a symbol for missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls. (Aug. 3, 2023. Source: Danton Unger/CTV News)

After about a half hour of being in the intersection, the group started marching to the Manitoba Legislature.

There, tension took a turn, as one protester started yelling and confronting a security guard at the Legislature.

"Right here, right here. Hit me, hit me, hit me," they yelled.

However, other protesters stepped in and told the individual they were not welcome at the event. Other protesters reminded the crowd it was a peaceful gathering and any sort of violence wasn't welcome.

This comes after protesters blocked the entrance to the Brady Landfill for nearly two weeks, calling on the government to search Prairie Green for the remains of two women Morgan Harris and Marcedes Myran. It is believed that is where their remains are located.

The blockade was removed after a judge granted a temporary injunction, giving police the authority to remove the blockade. The road was reopened on July 18.

Premier Heather Stefanson previously said her government would not search the landfill, citing the findings of a feasibility study, which said there could be health and safety risk to searchers and there is no guarantee anything will be found.

Protesters gathered outside of the Manitoba Legislature calling on the government to search the Prairie Green Landfill. (Aug. 3, 2023. Source: Jamie Dowsett/CTV News)

Despite the continued no from the province, the families of Harris and Myran are hopeful a search may happen.

The families say they met with the new Crown-Indigenous Relations minister Gary Anandasangaree Thursday.

"It brought me to tears, him telling us we are going to get this work done," said Melissa Robinson, the cousin of Harris.

"We have a plan for the next 90 days of things that need to happen. So like we said, words can only go so far, we want to start seeing action. And so, we gave them ideas of what needs to be done. He said, 'Okay, we're going to start going from there.' I can't share exactly what, but there will be some movement."

The family said they were so happy to hear what the minister had to say and feel a search will finally happen, with or without the province's help.

In an emailed statement from the minister's office, they confirmed he met in person with two of the families, the AMC and Chief Kyra Wilson of Long Plain First Nation, as well as Mayor Scott Gillingham.

"He reiterated the Government of Canada's position that we will continue to support in the process of healing and closure for the families and communities concerned," the statement read.

It was noted, however, that support is needed from all levels of government.

"We need the cooperation of the province of Manitoba, as there are jurisdictional considerations we cannot ignore. Until there is cooperation, conversations around timelines and funding remain unresolved."

The minister plans on working with all involved parties to make sure the work is done right.

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