Canadian police say they seized firearms, magazines, body armor and a machete after arresting Freedom Convoy protesters near the US border following Trudeau’s declaration of emergency powers
- Police raided three trailers at the site of the protest between Alberta, Canada and the US state of Montana early Monday morning
- Officers made 11 arrests and seized a large cache of weapons, including 13 long guns, handguns, several sets of body armor and a machete
- The arrests came after one of the protesters attempted to ram a police vehicle with his tractor-trailer on Sunday night
- The tractor has been seized and officers are searching for the driver, as the force scrambles to keep the bridge open after a week of blockages and disturbances
Canadian police attempting to clear one of the many bridges to the United States blocked by the Freedom Convoy were nearly rammed by a tractor-trailer and seized a large cache of weapons, ammunition and body armor.
Eleven people linked to anti-vaccine mandate protests that have halted cross-border travel to Canada have been arrested in the Alberta village of Coutts, the Royal Canadian Mountain Police said Monday.
Those arrested were described by police as “a small organized group within the larger Coutts protest” and had blocked the passage of Coutts, population of 245, in Sweet Grass, Montana for a week.
The Coutts border crossing generates $44 million ($35 million) a day in two-way trade, said David MacLean, vice-president of Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters.
“Alberta RCMP recently became aware of a small group organized within the larger Coutts protest,” they said in a statement.
“Reports have been received that this group had access to a cache of firearms containing a large amount of ammunition.
“The group would have been willing to use force against the police if attempts were made to disrupt the blockade. This resulted in an immediate and complex investigation to determine the extent of the threat and the criminal organization.
Protesters are seen at the Coutts, Alberta crossing earlier in the blockade. Protesters were evacuated and early Monday 11 people were arrested after weapons were found
Police officers are seen near the Canada-US border in Alberta, where protests have been taking place for a week
Truckers are seen blocking the US-Canada border in Alberta
Three crossings are now blocked, with the Ambassador Bridge in Detroit being the most important for trade
Early Monday morning, the RCMP, armed with a search warrant, searched three trailers and arrested the 11.
Police found 13 long guns, handguns, several sets of body armor and a machete.
They said they seized a large amount of ammunition and high capacity magazines.
Officers are now looking for the driver of the tractor-trailer, who attempted to ram the police vehicle.
RCMP said the attempted attack was “an example of the militant mindset of a small segment of the protest.”
They said the protesters’ vehicles involved were a large agricultural tractor and a semi-trailer, both of which were involved in the blockade.
The driver of the police vehicle swerved to avoid the collision and officers followed the suspects to a location where protesters were congregating. The farm tractor and semi-trailer involved were seized and the driver identified as being on the lookout for police.
A Canadian trucker blocks the border near Coutts, Alberta
The week-long Coutts protest was costing the country C$48 million a day in trade losses, the finance minister said.
The unrest in Alberta came as, 1,750 miles away in Ontario, police were also working to keep the Ambassador Bridge open between Windsor and Detroit, Michigan.
On Monday afternoon, Federal Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland said the border blockade at Coutts was disrupting C$48 million ($37 million) a day in international trade.
The Emerson, Manitoba border blockade costs C$73 million per day, while the Ambassador Bridge blockade costs C$390 million per day.
Protesters were evicted on Saturday morning and police are now patrolling the area to prevent the blockade from being reformed.
The Emerson Bridge was also open, but with significant delays.