Published: Wed, January 09, 2019
Economy | By

Edmonton rally to support B.C. First Nation's anti-pipeline checkpoint

Edmonton rally to support B.C. First Nation's anti-pipeline checkpoint

The event is one of about 25 peaceful protests going on today across the nation in support of Wet'suwet'en land defenders in northern British Columbia who are now facing imminent removal from their own land by the RCMP, so that TransCanada/Coastal GasLink can construct a pipeline. She was released but the 13 other people arrested were taken to Prince George, he said.

The company says it has signed agreements with all First Nations along the route, but demonstrators argue Wet'suwet'en house chiefs, who are hereditary rather than elected, have not given consent.

The checkpoints are meant to restrict access to a construction site for TransCanada's $4.7-billion, 670-kilometre Coastal GasLink pipeline, which will deliver liquefied natural gas from Dawson Creek to a planned LNG Canada facility near Kitimat.

The checkpoint was one of two manned by members of the Wet'suwet'en First Nation.

"They have a charter bus, RV, and what seems to be a tactical vehicle", she said.

The second checkpoint was put in place three weeks ago by the Gidimt'en clan, and blocked the Morice River forest service road.

Shelagh Bell-Irving attended the protest in support of the First Nation blockade. They're also prohibited from threatening, intimidating or getting within 10 metres of anyone actively working on the project. It also facilitated a meeting between hereditary chiefs and representatives from Coastal GasLink.

There were no physical confrontations but angry words and hand gestures flew back and forth as at least a dozen Calgary police officers used their bodies and bicycles to separate the groups. When the discussions failed, RCMP moved in at around 3 p.m.

The RCMP says the zone remains in place and will be consistently re-assessed.


The chief thanked those who showed up at rallies to ask Canada to demand that the RCMP cease enforcing the court order.

In a video posted on the Wet'suwet'en Access Point Facebook page, Molly Wickham, spokesperson for Cas Yex house, which is part of the Gidimt'en clan, said, "We're doing everything that we can to make sure that we're going to be safe".

While members of another Wet'suwet'en house, the Unist'ot'en of the Gilseyhu clan, erected a camp and checkpoint in the area of the planned pipeline nearly seven years ago, Wickham said the Gidimt'en checkpoint is more recent.

Gidimt'en member Jen Wickham said hereditary chiefs had gathered near the site of the B.C. camp Tuesday and expected further RCMP action.

"It is unfortunate that the RCMP must take this step so that lawful access for this public bridge and road can be re-established", he said. "I don't want to dwell on the past, but you know, and I know, that previous governments and institutions spent years ignoring your communities and your concerns", Trudeau said.

In Vancouver, protesters marched from the provincial courthouse on Hornby Street to Victory Square on West Hastings, in support of the Wet'suwet'en First Nation.

"In planning for the enforcement of this injunction, police are taking the remote location of the Morice River Bridge into account and will be ensuring that enough police officers will be present in the area to keep the peace and ensure everyone's safety", the force said.

The protesters are angry about the RCMP's intervention in a blockade in northern British Columbia, enforcing an injunction from the B.C. Supreme Court. Canada Action aruges that the Coastal GasLink pipeline will help to reduce carbon emissions by allowing developing Asian countries to transition power production from coal to cleaner natural gas.

Rallies are planned in 30 cities in Canada and the US on Tuesday - including Vancouver, Victoria, Chilliwack, Lilooet, Nelson, Cortes Island and Prince George - in solidarity with the Wet'suwet'en.

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