Growing tensions in Wet’suwet’en territory with pipeline dispute

0


The dispute over the 670-kilometer pipeline has already erupted in 2019 and 2020, and protesters who defied the court order have been arrested.

Content of the article

The access road which has been blocked by First Nations protesters since Sunday has been cleared by the RCMP and can now be used to bring water and other supplies to more than 500 pipeline workers, Coastal said. GasLink.

Advertising

Content of the article

Mounties, in northern British Columbia, said earlier Thursday that they were enforcing an injunction prohibiting protests from blocking the access road used by pipeline workers.

Coastal GasLink said in a statement the company has been told the road is not yet secure for public travel.

The RCMP did not confirm whether any arrests had been made, but a spokesperson for the protesters who set up the blockade along the road said in a video posted online that officers had read the order to ‘injunction, then began to arrest people.

The blockade was put in place by members of the Gidimt’en clan, one of the five members of the Wet’suwet’en Nation, cutting off access to more than 500 pipeline workers. The workers had been given eight hours’ notice to leave, the group said in a statement.

Advertising

Content of the article

Gidimt’en spokesman Sleydo ‘, also known as Molly Wickham, said around 15 people were arrested, including two former Wet’suwet’en, for violating the injunction, but that no criminal charges had been laid.

She said the court-ordered injunction had no authority over their land.

“They violate, violate human rights, violate the rights of indigenous peoples and, more importantly, they violate the Wet’suwet’en law,” she said in another video shared earlier Thursday.

However, a statement released on Wednesday by the elected Wet’suwet’en council said the protesters did not consult them before blocking the road and that their actions “cannot claim to represent members of the Gidimt’en or any other in the the First Nation. “

Advertising

Content of the article

Mounted police were called in to help as several hundred workers were “illegally blocked by protesters, who also prevented essential supplies and services from entering the camp,” RCMP said in a statement Thursday.

“We were hoping that a solution would be found without having to resort to the police, however, it became very clear to us that our discretionary period has come to an end and that the RCMP must now enforce the orders. (of the court). “

Chief Superintendent John Brewer said in the statement that the RCMP had “serious concerns” about protesters cutting down trees, vandalizing heavy machinery and damaging the forest service road in an attempt to prevent industry and police to go past.

The dispute over the 670-kilometer pipeline has already erupted in 2019 and 2020, and protesters who defied the court order have been arrested.

Advertising

Content of the article

Opposition to the pipeline among Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs at the time sparked solidarity rallies and rail blockades across Canada last year. The elected Chief and Council of the Wet’suwet’en First Nation and others in the area had approved the project.

Since then, a memorandum of understanding has been signed between the federal and provincial governments and the Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs, easing tensions so far.

The RCMP said they had set up an access control point on the Morice Forest Service Road to prevent further escalation of the situation and alleviate security concerns.

Jennifer Wickham, media coordinator for the Gidimt’en checkpoint, said chartered planes with RCMP officers had arrived in the past two days and a number of arrests had been made until now, including two Wet’suwet’en elders.

Advertising

Content of the article

“I think it’s absolutely crazy that they are sending all these RCMP members up north right now when there is a state of emergency in the province,” she said during an interview.

Coastal GasLink has said in statements throughout this week that it worries about its workers, who risk running out of water and other supplies.

“It is unfortunate that the RCMP must take this step so that legal access to our lodges and public forest roads can be restored,” he said Thursday. “As soon as it is safe to do so, water and other supplies will be brought to our labor huts.”

The pipeline that would transport natural gas from Dawson Creek in northeastern British Columbia to Kitimat on the coast is more than halfway complete with most of the route cleared and 200 kilometers of pipeline installed to date, the company said.

Advertising

comments

Postmedia is committed to maintaining a lively but civil discussion forum and encourages all readers to share their views on our articles. Comments may take up to an hour of moderation before appearing on the site. We ask that you keep your comments relevant and respectful. We have enabled email notifications. You will now receive an email if you receive a reply to your comment, if there is an update to a comment thread that you follow, or if a user that you follow comments. Visit our Community rules for more information and details on how to adjust your E-mail The settings.


Share.

Comments are closed.