Canadian police seize weapons, arrest 13 at border crossing amid truckers blockade

Canadian police have arrested 13 people and seized a cache of weapons in connection with the truckers blockade at the U.S.-Canada border in Coutts, Alberta.

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police announced Monday that 13 long guns, handguns, multiple sets of body armor, and “a large quantity” of ammunition were among the weapons seized at the border crossing linking Montana and Alberta.

Authorities executed a search warrant on three trailers associated with the protesters after the group “was said to have a willingness to use force against the police,” according to an RCMP statement. Police arrested 11 people during the weapons seizure.

Police later seized two weapons from another person who was stopped en route to the protest site. That person was arrested and remains in custody, according to the RCMP.

In a separate incident near the border crossing on Monday, police arrested a semi-truck driver for accelerating toward a manned RCMP checkpoint before swerving “at the last moment.”

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Monday invoked emergency powers to dismantle protests that have gripped the country since late January.

The Emergencies Act gives Canada’s federal government broad authority to crack down on protesters, though Mr. Trudeau has ruled out using the military.

Mr. Trudeau is the first Canadian leader to invoke the Emergencies Act since the law was enacted in 1988.

“This has gone on for far too long,” Mr. Trudeau said. “It is no longer a lawful protest against federal government policy. It is now an illegal occupation. It’s time for people to go home.”

The move was criticized by some Canadian officials who said the move is an overreach to silence dissent.

Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland also announced that the government will crack down on crowdfunding sites used to support the protests under broadened anti-money-laundering regulations.

Mr. Trudeau has faced pressure to bring an end to the protests, which have begun to impact the free flow of trade between the U.S. and Canada.

The protests, which began in Canada’s capital, have spread throughout the country and clogged border crossings. Last week, protesters stopped traffic at the Ambassador Bridge, a key border crossing with Michigan, forcing U.S. auto manufacturers to cut production due to parts shortages.

Police cleared the blockade at the Ambassador Bridge over the weekend. Protests at the border crossing in Coutts were reportedly winding down early Tuesday, partly in response to Mr. Trudeau invoking the Emergencies Act.

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