RCMP to break up northern B.C. First Nation's pipeline checkpoints Monday

Roman Schwartz
January 10, 2019

"The RCMP's use of force against peaceful land defenders is a serious violation of human rights and First Nations' rights". Canada and B.C. should do the same.

Shepley said Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has stated in the past that his government would respect the sovereignty of Canada's Indigenous people and treat them on a nation-to-nation basis.

The protesters expressed anger about the RCMP's intervention in a blockade in northern British Columbia, enforcing an injunction from the B.C. Supreme Court.

Residents of Vancouver are also now protesting in support of those arrested pipeline protestors and are blocking traffic as they head to Victory Square.

A number of indigenous bands along the proposed Coastal GasLink route signed on to the project, but a group from the Wet'suwet'en Nation opposes the plan, saying hereditary chiefs, not band councils, have authority.

This protest in Toronto is taking place side by side with another protest that is also now happening in Vancouver.

Canada "made a commitment to uphold the United Nations declaration" to not forcibly remove people from their land, Roberts said, but is now planning to break that commitment.

Ridsdale said that the chiefs are "hurt" by actions of Coastal GasLink, and he accused the RCMP of being "puppets (of) industry and a government that won't stand up for Indigenous rights". She said an elder arrested on Monday had already been released.

"The Unist'ot'en camp is a non-violent gathering of Indigenous land defenders and members of the Unist'ot'en house group in Wet'suwet'en territory in northern BC", the UBCIC says in a statement.

KTW called Tk'emlups te Secwepemc Chief Rosanne Casimir to learn where the Tk'emlups band stands on the issue, but a band spokesperson said Casimir will not comment.

"You are here today because you care about our resource sector, you care about our province and you care about our nation", Moe told the cheering crowd.

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New Democrat MP Nathan Cullen, who represents the area, said the protest he witnessed on Monday was "determined" but "peaceful".

Organizers believe the police are headed for Unist'ot'en Camp, members of which are listed in the court injunction.

After the arrests, Mounties reiterated that their focus remains on the safety of all those involved in the situation, but said "the RCMP is given discretion to decide how and when to enforce the order".

The injunction gave protesters 72 hours to remove obstructions and the police say that had not happened, preventing Coastal Gaslink Pipeline Ltd. from being able to do any work in the area. "Now going into prayer", the camp tweeted after police cleared the Gitimd'en checkpoint.

The defendants are also prohibited from threatening, intimidating or getting within 10 metres of anyone actively working on the project.LNG Canada announced on October 2 that its joint venture participants had taken a positive investment decision to construct the Kitimat export facility.B.C.

The checkpoints were blocking access to a liquefied natural gas pipeline construction site in northern B.C. One has been in place for nearly a decade and includes a camp and gate that obstructs the Morice West forest service road and the Morice River Bridge.

In Vancouver, police were forced to shut down roads as hundreds marched through the city's downtown chanting, drumming and carrying placards.

"This is wrong and we have to stop it".

"In this government, you have a partner willing to figure out the path forward that is right for each of you, and eventually right for every Indigenous person in this country", Trudeau told the Indigenous leaders who had moved to the new venue with him.

- With files from Dan Healing in Calgary, Dirk Meissner in Victoria, Mike MacDonald in Halifax, Kristy Kirkup in Ottawa, Hina Alam in Vancouver and Paola Loriggio in Toronto.

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