RCMP Begins Removing Protesters, Vehicles, as Truck Blockade at Canada-US Border

RCMP Begins Removing Protesters, Vehicles, as Truck Blockade at Canada-US Border
Anti-mandate demonstrators gather as a truck convoy blocks the highway to the busy U.S. border crossing in Coutts, Alta., on Jan. 31, 2022. (Jeff McIntosh/The Canadian Press)
Andrew Chen

A truck blockade in southern Alberta at the Canada-U.S. border has entered its fourth day with the RCMP announcing that it will take action to remove the vehicles blocking traffic.

Alberta RCMP says the protesters, who have been blocking Highway 4, south of Lethbridge, Alta., have refused to budge despite the police’s efforts to find a peaceful resolution.

Police say the protest is not lawful, and they have resources in place to make arrests and tow away vehicles.

“What may have begun as a peaceful assembly quickly turned into an unlawful blockade. While the Alberta RCMP has been in a position to conduct enforcement, we have been engaged with protesters at the Coutts border crossing in an effort to find a peaceful and safe resolution for all involved. We thought we had a path to resolution, the protesters eventually chose not to comply,” the police said in a statement released on Feb. 1.

“As of this morning, further action is being taken by the Alberta RCMP as this blockade continues to impede the ability for emergency agencies to provide full services to area residents. It has also negatively impacted the flow of goods and services, and impedes the public’s freedom of movement.”

Some protesters say they will not leave.

The police have made requests to local towing companies to assist in removing the vehicles participating in the blockade at the border, but a number of them—including those in Calgary, Lethbridge, and Medicine Hat—said they are unwilling to do so, according to a report from the Western Standard.

One of the companies, City Wide Towing, told the Western Standard that it has sent tow trucks to help support stranded drivers at the blockade and that none of its vehicles stayed on scene to assist the authorities.

The convoy of trucks and other vehicles blocking the highway at the Coutts border are there in solidarity with the massive convoy protesting in Ottawa against COVID-19 mandates and restrictions.

The national movement of truckers began after the federal government imposed a requirement for COVID-19 vaccination for all truck drivers crossing the U.S.-Canada border. But the movement has since expanded to request for the lifting of all provincial and federal COVID-19 restrictions and mandates.

The first truck convoy left the West Coast to Ottawa on Jan. 23, with all convoys converging in Ottawa on Jan. 29. Many protesters still remain in Ottawa, saying they won’t leave until the mandates are lifted.

Other solidarity movements such as the one in Alberta have since started across the country.

The Canadian Press contributed to this report