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Protesters' emotions run high as they clash with RCMP

Approximately 50 vehicles were at an approved protest site in the Crowsnest Pass region and en route to the protest site, five large farm tractors caused a multi-vehicle collision, say RCMP.

Protesters’ emotions are running high on day two of their Axe the Tax protests at provincial borders.

Saskatchewan has protests at the Saskatchewan – Manitoba border as well as at the Saskatchewan – Alberta borders and are accusing the RCMP of lying to them and blocking them.

At the Saskatchewan – Manitoba protest on the TransCanada Highway, organizers are saying the Saskatchewan RCMP have told them the provincial government prohibits them from protesting on the Saskatchewan side of the border.


Saskatchewan RCMP say that officers are monitoring the protests on-scene, and continue to work with the planners to assist them in exercising their right to protest in a safe, peaceful and lawful way.

“We have been consistently clear in our messaging to protesters: blocking any portion of a lane of highway or impeding public use of a highway is illegal and contravenes the Criminal Code.”

To avoid breaking the law, Saskatchewan RCMP continue to ask the protesters to refrain from disrupting road traffic, parking vehicles on the side of any public roads, parking vehicles on any private properties without approval of its legal owner, and obstructing or interfering with the use of any public or private property, roadways, or infrastructure, on foot or in a vehicle.

On the Saskatchewan – Alberta side, protesters are accusing Alberta RCMP of blocking them from highway entrances and from standing along the highway. They also say the officers have removed their name tags.

In addition, some in the Lloydminster, Alta., - North Battleford, Sask., group have been encouraging protesters to go to Cochrane, Alta., to help them due to what they called a “heavy police presence” there.

RCMP block protesters from standing right alongside the busy TransCanada Highway. Facebook

Alberta RCMP Cpl. Gina Slaney told in an email Tuesday morning that Alberta RCMP does have officers at the protest site near Cochrane in the ditch between the TransCanada Highway and the protesters.

“This is to ensure that the Highway remains clear, ensuring the safety of the users of the road and the protesters,” she said. “I looked at numerous photos of our members and the majority are wearing tags which either contain their last name or a number, which can identify them. It is not our practice to remove name tags.”

Alberta RCMP Headquarters in Edmonton issued a media release Tuesday morning saying the RCMP respects and supports the rights of Canadians to peacefully and lawfully ­­gather and demonstrate as guaranteed under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

“Yesterday afternoon, approximately 50 vehicles were at an approved protest site in the Crowsnest Pass region. En route to the protest site, five large farm tractors caused a multi-vehicle collision. They refused to stop for police when a traffic stop was attempted. Our investigation into this incident is ongoing. This incident serves as a reminder that protesting on a public highway is not safe.

“Alberta RCMP have been working with the protestors on Highway 1 west of Cochrane over the past 24 hours to ensure they can protest safely and lawfully. The RCMP have advised the protestors that we will be in location to ensure they remain off the highway and do not impede the flow of traffic along an extremely busy corridor,” continued the Alberta RCMP statement.

“We do not take enforcement action lightly, but the safety of motorists, protesters and a traveller’s right to use a public highway must be maintained. It is extremely unsafe to stand or impede traffic on a public roadway.

“To be clear, it is also unlawful for a vehicle to park or remain stationary on a highway unless the vehicle is incapable of moving under its own power, an emergency arises, or it is stopped for the purposes of complying with a direction given by a peace officer or a traffic control device," said the Alberta RCMP.

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