DESERONTO, Ont. (CP) — Mohawk protesters, who said they had guns and wouldn’t back down, have begun threatened protest blockades in eastern Ontario.

The protesters parked an old school bus and a pickup truck loaded with wooden pallets late Thursday across secondary Highway 2 near Deseronto and turned back traffic in both directions.

The Mohawks had said they would begin with a “soft” target before moving to blockade the main CN line and a key highway near this town west of Kingston, despite widespread calls that an aboriginal day of action be peaceful.

Men, women and children in army-style fatigues, their hair braided back or shaved in traditional Mohawk style, began arriving at a makeshift camp outside Deseronto just after 5 p.m.

It was a call to action by protest leader Shawn Brant, a 43-year-old militant Mohawk who has done jail time for trashing the offices of politicians.

He wouldn’t disclose the actual sites, but confirmed that he and others were prepared to “meet force with force” if police got in their way.

“We’ve made no secret that we have guns within this camp,” he told The Canadian Press in an interview.

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