Truckers, Canadian Police Engaged In Standoff At Protest At U.S.-Canada Border
Supporters arrive at Parliament Hill for the Freedom Truck Convoy to protest against Covid-19 vaccine mandates and restrictions in Ottawa, Canada, on January 29, 2022.
LARS HAGBERG/AFP via Getty Images

Police and protestors are engaged in a standoff after law enforcement moved in to arrest the organizers of the trucker convoy currently assembled on the United States-Canada border.

Rebel news videographer Kian Simone first reported Monday afternoon that the truckers, who had previously voted to remain where they were despite being surrounded by Royal Canadian Mounted Police, were expected to begin negotiations with RCMP.

Negotiations began Monday evening.

Simone reported that organizers were wondering why supporters bringing food and water were not allowed to pass police checkpoints, but media reporters were. Police told the organizers they were attempting to coordinate with them in order to bring their supplies through the checkpoints.

About an hour later, police negotiators returned to say that RCMP was willing to allow locals in the town of Coutts, where the protest is being held, to bring food and supplies in, but would not allow more big rigs to come in from the outside.

“Has Jason Kenney heard our voice?” One trucker asked police of the Premier of Alberta who declared the truckers’ blockade of the Canada-U.S. border illegal. “You can say that Jason Kenney knows, because it’s all over the media and the news, and we have reporting lines, too,” one police officer told the protestors. “Is he aware of our requests?” another trucker asked. “I can say yes, he’s seen the pictures. I can’t speak for him. I don’t know what he knows or doesn’t know, but I think you guys have been pretty clear and pretty vocal, I think it would be hard for him not to know.”

“What we do want to do is move forward with a lawful protest and give everyone here the opportunity, and still get your message out. Not a lot of people can say that they were able to stop cross-border traffic … But we’re at a point now where we have to restore flow across the border, and we do have to enforce the law. Today we were in a position to start enforcement, but we [want to] … give everyone the opportunity to still move forward, get their message out as best as possible within a lawful protest.”

The negotiator then told the organizers that police want to facilitate a lawful protest, but they needed to restore the flow of traffic across the border. The negotiator said that passenger vehicles would be let in, but no rigs.

However, one of the protestors, speaking to a supporter via phone, was told that RCMP were not allowing any vehicles to pass, forcing supporters to walk in the freezing cold to the site of the blockade to bring food to the truckers. Police also refused a request for vehicle escort.

Later in the evening, police agreed to allow supporters and other protestors in and out if the truckers promised to open a lane of traffic, including a border lane. Simone reported that supporters were let in without meeting the demand to open a lane.

Tuesday morning, Simone reported that another 42 RCMP vehicles had been deployed to the site.

Simone also reported that the trucker’s legal counsel, Chad Williamson, had arrived at the blockade. The legal counsel and costs of the tickets are being crowdfunded by Rebel Media co-founder Ezra Levant.

Tuesday afternoon, police came in with a final demand: leave or be arrested. Protestors told police they were adamant that the vaccine mandates must end, and once they do, they will leave. Protestors asked police for their help in accomplishing their goal, so they could leave.

RCMP units were then seen moving in.

Simone said that the negotiations have ended, and that, since RCMP was forced to abandon the checkpoint, more truckers were moving in to support the protest.

The protestors moved to the back of the blockade in order to meet police. The line soon broke out into chants of “Freedom!” and a rendition of the Canadian national anthem.

The two sides were engaged in a brief standoff, but police have since backed off, the truckers’ line has advanced, and other protestors have filled in the gap where the police line once was.

The blockade began Saturday in support of the “Freedom Convoy” currently protesting Canada’s vaccine mandate in the nation’s capital of Ottawa.

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