https://toronto.citynews.ca/2022/01/31/alberta-canada-us-border-blockade-rcmp/

Mounties in Alberta say protesters who have been blocking the Canada-U.S. border crossing in Coutts since Saturday afternoon are refusing to leave.

In a statement Monday night, the Alberta RCMP said their efforts to negotiate a “peaceful resolution” have not been successful.

“While we thought we had a path to resolve this, the protesters chose not to comply. We will continue to actively resolve the situation, and would like to remind everyone to stay clear of the area as traffic remains immobile,” a statement posted online reads.

Earlier Monday, Canada Border Services Agency said the U.S. border crossing has remained open despite the blockade on Highway 4, but the RCMP said only foot traffic was able to get through.

Police said Sunday night the blockade had gone beyond the bounds of peaceful protest.

“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. 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,” a statement said.

“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.”

Premier Jason Kenney also issued a statement Monday afternoon demanding an immediate end to the blocking of the crossing, saying it violates the Alberta Traffic Safety Act.

The blockade was set up to coincide with a national convoy made up of some truckers and a number of others that travelled to Ottawa to protest vaccine mandates, COVID-19 measures and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau condemned the actions on Parliament Hill over the weekend on Monday.

“Freedom of expression, assembly, and association are cornerstones of democracy,” Trudeau said. “Nazi symbolism, racist imagery and desecration of war memorials are not. It is an insult to memory and truth. Hate can never be the answer.”

A number of criminal investigations regarding actions that took place during the weekend protests are underway, including the desecration of monuments. Photos surfaced of a flag with a swastika being waved during the rally and staff at an Ottawa homeless shelter say they were harassed by protesters on Saturday who were demanding meals from the shelter’s kitchen.

“We are not intimidated by those who hurl insults and abuse at small business workers and steal food from the homeless,” said Trudeau. “For those responsible for this behaviour, it needs to stop.”

With files from Michael Ranger and Josh Ritchie