Convoy of Albertans make a 'Coutts Loop' in border town to mark 1-year anniversary of blockade
A convoy of Albertans marked the one-year anniversary of the Coutts border blockade in the tiny border town Saturday.
Between 250 and 300 trucks, cars, SUVs and the odd semi met up in Coutts Saturday morning, where they revisited the site of a two-week-long border blockade that became a global news story in early 2022.
The group, including members from several southern Alberta locations including Calgary, Medicine Hat, Claresholm and Lethbridge – planned to make a "Coutts loop" along Highway 4 before gathering in Lethbridge for an afternoon barbecue event with speeches.
"Given the weather, and the roads, we came from the north, they were brutal. Given that, it was an amazing turnout," said Bob Blayone.
That event was a fundraiser to support four men who face a number of criminal charges for actions allegedly taken during the 2022 Coutts blockade.
Numerous RCMP officers were on hand in Coutts as the convoy, featuring many Canadian and Alberta flags attached to vehicles, made its Coutts Loop while honking horns.
Police blocked the highway to the border, forcing drivers in the convoy to turn around.
Blayone says their presence was a little excessive.
"Extreme and intimidation," said Blayone.
"(They were) blocking the roads; they're scared that these people will block the roads. There they (RCMP) go again."
RCMP officers on scene at Coutts, Alta. on Jan. 28, 2023
The border blockade of 2022 created a lot of hard feelings among the residents of Coutts, which some say are finally fading away a year later.
Coutts Mayor Jim Willett says council agreed last week with a resolution to "let everything go" from last year.
"We just want to give everyone in the village some time to heal," said Willett in a statement.
Convoy to Coutts, Alta., Jan. 28, 2023
"The problem with any protest is there are people who come down on one side or the other, and people rarely stay in the middle," said Keith Dangerfield, who owns the Hills and Home Café in Coutts. "I think what has happened over the past year is a lot of that dividing line has disappeared and we're back to being people."
"I own a restaurant and we rely on customers, so we've all come back to being civil with each other," he added.
With files from CTV News Calgary's Ryan White, Karsen Marczuk and Tyson Fedor
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