Canadian Anti-Hate Network
RCMP in Alberta arrested a “small organized group” from within the larger protest held at the border crossing in Coutts on Monday. Little about the group is being released by law enforcement at this time, though police did allege that the individuals in question have access to a large cache of firearms and ammunition.
Among the seized gear were patches showing the black and white flag of Diagolon, the banner of a fictional country used by the network of fans of a collective of conspiracy-focused, survivalist streamers called the Plaid Army. The militia-like network – members have repeatedly said they are armed and preparing for violence – has often expressed sentiments akin to accelerationism, viewing a coming collapse or civil war as necessary to right the tilted course of the country.
"I was made aware someone unknown to us was handing them out (patches). I have no idea who they belong to," Diagolon concept creator and de facto leader Jeremy MacKenzie said when reached for comment. "Our guy that makes and sells them sent them all over the country to anybody that wanted them, they could literally have come from anywhere. That's the truth."
Serving search warrants on three trailers in the early hours of Monday, February 14, police report taking 11 individuals into custody.
“The group was said to have a willingness to use force against the police if any attempts were made to disrupt the blockade,” Alberta RCMP wrote in a press release. “This resulted in an immediate and complex investigation to determine the extent of the threat and criminal organization.”
Police note seizing 13 long guns, an unspecified number of handguns, multiple sets of body armour, high capacity magazines, and a machete.
The reaction to the seizures has been swift online, with videos coming out of people purporting to know that the weapons have nothing to do with the blockade itself, and instead, coming from a nearby property.
“On this day, the town of Coutts was raided by a large number of RCMP officers with open assault weapons, who took 11 people in the night,” one channel dedicated to following the protests wrote. “Their condition remains unknown.”
Other footage alleged to be from within the blockade shows individuals asking participants to leave, and that the presence of firearms had tainted the message.
“Don’t feel like we’ve lost,” one speaker told a gathered crowd from a wooden stage. “We have made a huge, huge impact.”
Remarking that law enforcement had taken the license plates of all involved and that enforcement may come later, the man added “Right now we are able to leave peacefully.”
Another speaker commented on the gun seizures directly: “The government has made it about guns now. Now we’re violent gun-toting criminals. That’s not the way it started out and that’s not the way it’s supposed to finish.”
The total number of vehicles and individuals who have left the Coutts blockade is not currently known.
RCMP also point to an incident the evening before where a “large farm tractor and a semi-truck” involved in the blockade attempted to ram a police vehicle, in a display of what police called the “militant mindset of a small segment of the protest.”
“The police officer was able to reposition and avoid the collision. RCMP officers followed the suspects to a location where the protesters were gathered. The driver of the tractor was identified and we are actively working to locate him so he can be taken into custody.”
The Alberta RCMP says it has seized the farm tractor and semi-truck involved in this incident.
Channels reportedly in contact with truckers have denied the events, including the vehicle ramming and the fact that any of their members would be carrying firearms during the blockade.
Network Facing Other Criminal Charges
Diagolon’s creator Jeremy MacKenzie, a combat veteran in the Canadian Armed Forces, was arrested in mid-January when, according to Nova Scotia RCMP, an investigation began, “after a video was posted to social media of a man, in a business, waving a handgun around in a reckless manner and allegedly having an overcapacity magazine.”
Police said they determined the incident occurred on Whycocomagh Mountain Road in Whycocomagh, Nova Scotia.
Police did not identify MacKenzie by name, but an unsealed warrant alleges he pointed a firearm at the head of another individual. MacKenzie is a licensed gun owner, according to police, and has often used his stream to offer purchasing tips to his followers.
“On January 26, as part of the investigation, police executed a search warrant at a home on High St. in Pictou,” the RCMP say in their release. “During the search, police located and seized five restricted firearms including rifles and handguns, one unrestricted firearm, prohibited magazines, ammunition, body armour, a duty belt with attached holster and magazine pouches and cellular phones.”
According to law enforcement, the suspect, “a 35-year-old Pictou man,” attended the Pictou RCMP Detachment prior to the search warrant execution and was arrested without incident. He was later released on conditions, which include that he does not possess any firearms, weapons, ammunition or explosive substances.
MacKenzie is facing potential charges of Careless Use of a Firearm, Unauthorized Possession of a Prohibited Device, Possession of a Prohibited Device Knowing Its Possession is Unauthorized, Possession of a Firearm at an Unauthorized Place.
He is expected to appear in Port Hawkesbury Provincial Court on May 30.