Canada: 14 arrested at indigenous anti-pipeline protest camp as tensions rise

Protesters in Calgary rally against TransCanada’s Coastal Gas Link pipeline.
Darren Makowichuk  

Protesters in Calgary rally against TransCanada’s Coastal Gas Link pipeline. Darren Makowichuk Postmedia

Coastal GasLink was most recently prevented from accessing the area on November 20, it said.In a statement posted on its website, the Unist'ot'en camp issued an global call to action for the Gidimt'en access checkpoint.The statement describes potential RCMP action as "an act of war", and evidence that Canada is criminalizing and using violence against Indigenous people, despite paying "lip service" to reconciliation.

"You also see an embarrassing sequence of events where highly trained police are pushing people to the ground", said Walby.

Police have set up an "exclusionary zone" to prevent access to the area - and have told those trying to access the roads they face arrest if they attempt to enter. "The area is extremely remote and even police had limited access to communication".

TransCanada Corp, now officially known as TC Energy, sought the injunction so it could begin work on the Coastal GasLink natural gas pipeline, part of an approved $40-billion LNG Canada liquefied natural gas project set for Kitimat, B.C.

The order gave demonstrators 72 hours to clear out and give access.

Pipeline supporters shout behind a police line in downtown Calgary on Tuesday.
Darren Makowichuk  Postmedia
Pipeline supporters shout behind a police line in downtown Calgary on Tuesday. Darren Makowichuk Postmedia

Residents of Vancouver are also now protesting in support of those arrested pipeline protestors and are blocking traffic as they head to Victory Square. The company has engaged with all First Nations groups along the project, both hereditary and elected, and also has some hereditary support, said Cunha.

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.

"People have been concerned about their safety, so understandably people were quite concerned and anxious in such a remote location", she explains.

But pro-pipeline activists, including those in yellow vests, met them from across a police barricade, at times overtaking the chants with their own message. "We need to shut down Canada now and let the government know we the people are running the show and not them". "This is just like every experience with colonization up to date".

"We're starting off 2019 with a bang, " he said to cheers and applause.

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"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.

An RCMP operation to enforce a court injunction over a pipeline dispute in northern B.C. has come to an end for now without further arrests, APTN News has learned.

In response to the RCMP's statement, Tait refers back to history.

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

While Phillip appreciates the situation is a hard one to navigate, he has stressed that "force is not the solution".

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Officers are now speaking at the Morice West Forest Service Road bridge's fortified checkpoint created by the protesters.

UBCIC President Grand Chief Stewart Phillip stated "We strongly condemn the RCMP's use of intimidation, harassment, and ongoing threats of forceful intervention and removal of the Wet'suwet'en land defenders from Wet'suwet'en unceded territory".

The UBCIC is calling "upon the Canadian Justice system to uphold the human rights and dignity of Indigenous peoples".

Debbie Pierre, executive director of the Office of Wet'suwet'en said the meeting with RCMP was underway in Smithers and the chiefs would share the outcome with the public Wednesday morning.

Freda Huson, who is among those at the the Unist'ot'en camp on the Wet'suwe'ten First Nation, says protesters there have spent the last several days preparing for the arrival of RCMP officers.

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