Another group of truckers has come together in support of the “Freedom Convoy” that is currently holding protests against Canada’s vaccine mandates in Ottawa, the Canadian capital city.
This new group coalesced on Saturday and started to create a blockade along Highway 4 in Coutts, Alberta, which works as the border site between the United States and Canada. The demonstration ended up causing an almost complete block in travel on both sides of the Coutts border crossing. As reported by James Finkbeiner with the Western Standard, a well-known Alberta-based newsgroup, “Nothing is moving on either side of the border. They have blocked the shoulders now in both directions, too. You can’t get by at all now.”
Officials with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police(RCMP) put forth a traffic warning directly afterward, as reported by Global News Canada. Jim Willett, the mayor of Coutts, stated that as of Saturday, all of the demonstrations have been entirely peaceful.
On Sunday, however, the protests seemed to start escalating. In a statement posted to Facebook, Royal Canadian Mounted Police said that the protests are now unlawful. “The Alberta RCMP continue to act to preserve the peace and maintain public safety at the Coutts border crossing. Extensive efforts have been taken to engage with all stakeholders in the hopes that a peaceful resolution can be reached. We are working with truck drivers who are attempting to disengage from this event so that they are able to do so; however, current conditions have traffic immobilized.”
“The Alberta RCMP will use only the level of intervention necessary to ensure the safety of all citizens and to maintain peace, order, and security,” read the statement. “Our goal is to facilitate lawful and peaceful protest. When an event becomes unlawful we utilize a measured approach, which ultimately includes enforcement. This event is unlawful and we are asking those who are involved to clear the area.”
“The Alberta RCMP uses necessary measures to protect the fundamental freedom of peaceful assembly and freedom of expression, to promote the safety of all citizens, to enforce laws and to maintain peace and order. In turn, it must be recognized that while everyone has a right to peaceful freedom of expression; the general public, local residents and businesses also have the right to a safe environment and freedom of movement.”
Jason Kenney, the Premier of Alberta, also put forth his own statement late Sunday evening in which he condemned the protests as illegal. “The blockade of the Coutts border crossing violates the Alberta Traffic Safety Act,” stated Kenney in a Twitter post. “It is causing significant inconvenience for lawful motorists and could dangerously impede movement of emergency service vehicles. This blockade must end.”
The blockade of the Coutts border crossing violates the Alberta Traffic Safety Act.
It is causing significant inconvenience for lawful motorists and could dangerously impede movement of emergency service vehicles.
This blockade must end.
My full statement: ⬇ pic.twitter.com/VbXTQTVft8
— Jason Kenney (@jkenney) January 30, 2022
The demonstrations went on all weekend and are still taking place of Monday.