Second US-Canada crossing disrupted by ‘freedom’ protests

Photo by Arthur Mola/Invision/AP

Ongoing “Freedom Convoy” protests against COVID-19 restrictions on Tuesday blocked a second crossing between the U.S. and Canada, the Coutts border crossing, which links Alberta, Canada, with Montana.

This comes just a day after demonstrators blocked traffic lanes on the Ambassador Bridge between Detroit and Windsor, Canada, the United States’ busiest land crossing with its northern neighbor.

Both the north- and southbound lanes at the Coutts border crossing were shut down by protesters, according to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) in Alberta.

In a tweet Tuesday night, the RCMP said, “Please be advised the north and southbound lanes to the Coutts border crossing are now closed due to protester’s blockade.”

An RCMP spokesperson told The Hill that protesters blocked the crossing at Coutts with farm tractors at approximately 8pm local time on Tuesday. 

The statement added that “while the border is not closed, no traffic is able to safely pass.”

According to the Canadian government’s website, the wait times at the crossing for both commercial and regular travelers was around seven hours as of Wednesday morning.

RCMP Deputy Chief Curtis Zablocki said in a news conference that charges will be coming for those taking part in the protest at the Coutts border, Canadian newspaper The Calgary Herald reported.

“Make no mistake, there are criminal activities taking place at these protest sites that violate both criminal code and provincial laws,” Zablocki said.

“We’ve seen activities that are both dangerous and reckless, and are having a very negative effect on Albertans who live in the area,” he added, according to the report.

The Hill has reached out to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police for additional comment.

This blockade comes as Alberta announced it will lift a number of COVID-19 restrictions, including ending its vaccine passport program among residents.

The demonstrations began as a protest against COVID-19 mandates and protocols affecting truck drivers.

They have since spread to cities around Canada, while also drawing a “significant element” from the U.S., and have prompted “several criminal investigations” into “threatening” and “illegal” conduct, according to Canadian police.
Updated at 11:52 a.m.
Tags COVID-19 COVID-19 pandemic in Canada covid-19 restrictions Freedom Convoy Royal Canadian Mounted Police

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