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'Ready to go to jail for what's right': Protesters remain defiant at Coutts, Alta. border blockade


Protesters at a pair of blockades in southern Alberta say they are "ready to go to jail" rather than give up their fight against pandemic health mandates. 

A blockade has been ongoing for two weeks at the Canada-U.S. border crossing near Coutts, Alta. with traffic stopped entirely for the past number of days. RCMP has been tasked with breaking up the blockade, along with a secondary, illegal protest a few kilometres north, near Milk River, Alta. on Highway 4. 

Protesters are demanding that all COVID-19 health measures be lifted, in solidarity with the ongoing trucker protest in Ottawa, which has spread to several other parts of the country.

“The other day we started a soft enforcement for the entire group,” said Alberta RCMP Supt. Roberta McKale. 

“They were already messaged that any vehicle illegally parked, or left on the road, is subject to tickets and you can’t just come and block access, even if there is just one lane going through, it is considered an illegal protest.”

RCMP says it wrote seven tickets against the Traffic Safety Act on Thursday, but more tickets will be mailed to owners of vehicles and farm equipment located at the protest sites. 

A protester name George, from Taber, Alta., says he has been at the Coutts blockade since the beginning.

He says mandates and restrictions have been complete government overreach, and is not concerned by RCMP enforcement measures. 

“I’m ready to go to jail for what’s right,” he said.

“I’m ready for it. It’s time that people rise up and truly give the right message. We’ve been done living in basements, we’re done with vaccinations and we’re done with all these types of things that restrict us from living a free, peaceful life.” 

Tractors and other farm equipment are spread east to west across Highway 4 at Coutts, blocking all access in and out of Montana. 

Speaking to the Evan Solomon Show, Premier Jason Kenney says he is supportive of RCMP efforts. 

“Last year, we passed the Defensive Critical Infrastructure Act that gives the police enormous powers and very stiff fines and penalties, including the power of imprisonment,” Kenney said.

“We have made it clear to the RCMP, who is our provincial police service, that they can and should use all of these powers. They're dealing with a very fluid situation and I have to respect their judgement.”

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau addressed the ongoing blockades and protests across the country on Friday, encouraging demonstrators to leave.

“I want to remind everyone that politicians don't direct police departments to enforce the law,” he said. 

Instead Trudeau made vague threats about revoking licenses and criminal records for those continuing to protest. 

“Everything is on table because this unlawful blockade has to end and will end.”

The County of Warner, which includes Coutts and Milk River, has issued a fire ban on all open fires, including the ones protesters have used at the encampment near Milk River in a ditch along Highway 4. Top Stories

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