The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) tweeted on Feb. 14 that they have made several arrests at the Coutts border-crossing in southern Alberta where a blockade of trucks have been impeding the regular flow of traffic for several days as part of a protest aimed at convincing the Canadian federal government to rescind COVID-19 measures protesters say are “government overreach.”
“The Alberta RCMP recently became aware of a small organized group within the larger Coutts protest. Information was received that this group had access to a cache of firearms with a large quantity of ammunition. The group was said to have a willingness to use force against the police if any attempts were made to disrupt the blockade,” the RCMP said in a statement.
Mounties said they executed a search warrant early Monday morning on three trailers associated with the blockade and confiscated a cache of weapons.
In the RCMP statement a list of items confiscated include 13 long guns, handguns, multiple sets of body armour (which are illegal in Canada), a machete, a large quantity of ammunition and high capacity magazines.
Following the execution of the search warrant 11 people were arrested.
“The group was said to have a willingness to use force against the police if any attempts were made to disrupt the blockade,” the RCMP said.
The arrests follow news of Mounties handing out dozens of tickets over the weekend, and reports that Mounties intentionally sabotaged equipment being used in the blockade.
Three excavators, parked on private land with permission of the owner, were reportedly damaged by the RCMP. Damage reported included cutting of electrical and control cables and the application of expanding foam sprayed inside the vehicle causing damage.
An RCMP media representative has confirmed that they were behind the damage.
The Alberta RCMP have said that they “will resume efforts to end the illegal blockade which has prevented access to the Coutts border,” and encouraged all protesters who are involved to leave immediately or to relocate to a designated site for a legal protest.