Truckers’ border blockade declared ‘not peaceful’
Police in Alberta, Canada have moved to end a days-long blockade at the border with the US, organized by truckers in protest of vaccine mandates in both countries, but failed to break up the demonstration.
Alberta’s Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) said it would “act to preserve the peace” at the border crossing in Coutts on Tuesday, noting that its attempts to resolve the stand-off with protesters had failed.
“What may have begun as a peaceful assembly quickly turned into an unlawful blockade,” the RCMP said, adding that while residents have the right to “peaceful freedom of expression,” the public is also entitled to “a safe environment and freedom of movement.”
Though local media reports said officers were able to begin removing protesters and trucks from the blockade, others “refused to leave” and established “secondary blockades” down the road. Drone footage reportedly captured on Tuesday night appeared to show one of the hold-out protests, where dozens of vehicles remained.
The demonstration kicked off over the weekend in protest of a vaccination mandate for truckers traveling between the United States and Canada, seeing hundreds block the border at one point and create a miles-long backup stretching into Montana. Local officials have denounced the protest as a “significant inconvenience” that “must end immediately,” while police previously declared the gathering unlawful.
Canada’s capital, Ottawa has also been hit by sizable protests in recent days, with thousands joining the ‘Freedom Convoy’ to denounce the mandates on Saturday, reportedly even briefly forcing Prime Minister Justin Trudeau into hiding over fears for his safety.