Protesters Begin Leaving Alberta’s Coutts Border Crossing

Protesters Begin Leaving Alberta’s Coutts Border Crossing

Traffic began flowing again at another Canada border crossing early Tuesday morning, after protesters began leaving the site, in Coutts, Alberta, following several arrests and the seizure of a large cache of weapons and ammunition, the police said.

A stockpile of weapons had been discovered by the police in trailers in Alberta on Monday. A small protest cell in the province had been prepared to use violence to maintain a blockade, the police reported. Thirteen people were arrested over the course of the day.

The news that the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, the country’s national police force, in Alberta had fended off a possible violent plot could not have come at a more critical time for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau as he mulls whether to invoke a never-before-used law that would allow authorities to breach civil liberties in order to restore public order.

The arrests could help tame criticism of Mr. Trudeau for considering to invoke the Emergencies Act, which some see as a perilous overriding of Canadians’ constitutional rights.

There has been little physical violence associated with the protests, and authorities successfully cleared another blocked border crossing, at the Ambassador Bridge between Windsor, Ontario, and Detroit.

Police officials said that in the early hours of Monday, it had searched three trailers linked to a criminal organization connected to the protests and seized weapons, including 13 long guns, handguns, a machete, multiple sets of body armor, a large quantity of ammunition and magazines.

In another example of the militant mind-set of a small segment of the protest, the police said that on Sunday evening a large farm tractor and a semi truck, both involved in the blockade, had attempted to ram a police vehicle. They said the driver had been identified and “taken into custody.”

“The Alberta R.C.M.P. wants to emphasize that our primary goal throughout this event has been and will continue to be the safety of the public, as well as our officers,” it said, calling the protesters to end the Coutts blockade.

Jason Kenney, the premier of Alberta, expressed relief that no one had been hurt by the group, which appeared to have violent intent. “This is extremely concerning,” he said. While the vast majority of protesters were law-abiding, he said a “small cell of people” had wanted to proceed in a “dark and dangerous direction.”

Ian Austen contributed reporting

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