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Breakthrough in Alberta border blockade, lanes open in both directions

COUTTS, Alta. -

There has been a breakthrough to resolve the impasse at a protest blockade at the United States border in southern Alberta.

Chad Williamson, a lawyer representing truckers blocking access to the border crossing at Coutts, Alta., says they have spoken with Mounties and agreed to open some blocked lanes.

“Frankly, the protestors feel their message has been heard,” he said. “Nobody wants this blockade to happen any more.”

Williamson says the protesters are starting to feel they have been heard, “but this isn’t over.”

Trucks and other vehicles have begun clearing two lanes -- one going north and one going south.


"This is a sign of optimism," Cpl. Curtis Peters of the Alberta RCMP told CTV News Wednesday, "but is not an end to the police presence here."

Work is continuing to clear the road completely, he said.

No deal has been struck between the RCMP and the protesters, but Peters said negotiations have been ongoing with some of the representatives.

While a lane of traffic is open in both directions, he says that doesn't mean the road is open and anyone seeking to cross the Canada-U.S. border there should avoid doing so and seek another crossing instead.

Demonstrators began parking their vehicles and blocked the highway on Saturday in solidarity with similar events in Ottawa and countrywide -- to protest COVID-19 vaccine mandates and broader public health measures.

The tie-up has stranded travellers and cross-border truckers for days, compromising millions of dollars in trade and impeding access to basic goods and medical services for area residents.

Police tried to peacefully break up the demonstration yesterday, only to see demonstrators breach a nearby checkpoint.


Wednesday evening, the RCMP issued a statement about developments at Coutts.

"This afternoon, in response to concerned citizens in the area of Coutts, the participants in the blockade made the decision to open a lane going northbound and southbound on Highway 4 near the Coutts border. This allows for area residents to have freedom of movement, school bussing that was impacted to be reinstated, emergency services to provide full services, border access and the flow of goods and services to resume.

"The Alberta RCMP acknowledges the work that is being done.

"Since the onset of the blockade, the Alberta RCMP has been actively engaging with participants of the blockade to re-open lanes of traffic.

"The Alberta RCMP remain on scene and our efforts continue to be focussed on fully reopening services."

With files from CTV News Calgary Top Stories

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