Royal Canadian Mounted Police, also known as Mounties, attempted on Tuesday to clear out the anti-vaccine mandate blockade currently cutting off a busy international border crossing only for negotiations to break down into assaults on officers.
Updated Thursday, February 3, 2022 11:05 a.m. EST - Wednesday saw protesters open up one lane of traffic in either direction. That success was short lived, as protesters set up another blockade fire kilometers north of Coutts, near the town of Milk River, according to Calgary Herald. Police are now asking all traffic to avoid the Coutts border crossing.
Updated Wednesday, February 2, 2022 1:45 p.m. EST - Mounties are having a hard time locating tow truck services willing to help move protesters’ vehicles, according to Western Standard. Many tow truck operators told the paper they don’t want to get involved, worried about losing customers in smaller communities due to their involvement in the protest.
While some trucks near the border took off when police approached, another blockage just north of Coutts, Alberta on Highway 4 saw sympathetic protesters crossing police barricades to join truckers, assaulting officers and even causing a car crash while trying to ram into the Mounties, Global News reports.
“I’ve received reports in the last hour of people aligned with the protesters assaulting RCMP officers, including one instance trying to ram members of the RCMP, later leading to a collision with a civilian vehicle,” said Premier Jason Kenney in a news conference that began around 4:30 p.m.
“This kind of conduct is totally unacceptable.
Unacceptable is right! And downright illegal under a Canadian law called the Critical Infrastructure Defence Act, which states those who “willfully obstruct, interrupt or interfere with the construction, maintenance, use or operation of any essential infrastructure in a manner that renders the essential infrastructure dangerous, useless, inoperative or ineffective” are committing a crime.
This seems like the sort of thing you’d want to clear up right away, but Alberta’s Premier Jason Kenney has come out in support of the protests, from Global News:
He said he sympathized with the “vast majority of lawful protestors,” adding it is “unfortunate to see a small number break the law, create a public safety hazard and enormous inconvenience for law-abiding Canadians.”
“I understand the concerns and frustrations that (protesters) have. And for those opposed to the quarantine requirement for (truckers to cross the border), not only do I hear you, but I agree with you.”
Maybe if Premier Kenney told protesters to go home, that he loves them and that they were all special this stand off would end. Meanwhile, mail delivery and school buses have stopped running in Coutts, Alberta, a tiny border town of 250 residents, as those vehicles couldn’t get through town. There are reports of residents not receiving home healthcare, according to Global News. The blockage has also stranded several Canadian truckers on the U.S. side of the border, putting their health and well-being at risk. One trucker told Global News “We don’t make enough money to survive in these kinds of situations.”
While some are spending their own money and extra hours to go to alternative border crossings, the crossing in Coutts is the only one in Alberta that permits live animals to cross over into Canada. That means live animals are sitting at the border with no way to get them to meatpacking plants or feedlots.
Protests continue to effectively shut down life in the nation’s capital of Ottawa, which is starting on day six of the anti-vaccine mandate convoy’s occupation of the city.
RCMP are making another attempt to break up the protest today. We will update this post as events unfold.