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

Locals protest B.C. RCMP action

A Facebook event page named "Sudbury Solidarity with Wet'suwet'en" said the local demonstration will get underway at 12 p.m. today (Jan. 8) at the corner of Lorne and Elm streets. "Indigenous land defenders must be treated with respect and must have their right to defend their lands and territories from the impacts of industry and climate change recognized and protected".

The first, which has been in place for nearly a decade, was set up by the Unist'ot'en, a house group of the Gilseyhu clan.

Around 2012, the Unist'ot'en camp set up a blockade by constructing a gate and other obstacles to the area, and a second gate has been constructed recently at the Morice River Bridge, it said.

In Ottawa, protesters blocked a major intersection near Parliament Hill and roads were also blocked in downtown Vancouver to accommodate demonstrators outside the B.C. Supreme Court.

A pair of camps, built by clans in the First Nation, have popped up since the injuction was granted, showing their opposition to the planned project.

It's meant to keep workers away from the construction site for TransCanada PipeLine Ltd.'s 670-kilometre Coastal GasLink pipeline, in the works since 2012.

On Tuesday, the national chief of the Assembly of First Nations condemned the RCMP's actions as a violation of the Wet'suwet'en people's rights.

"Forces marching toward gate on Gitumt'en, they are starting to breach, they are armed", said the protesters' Twitter account.

An injunction issued last month by a B.C. Supreme Court justice, and revised last week, prohibits anyone from physically interfering with or impeding any person or vehicle trying to access the area or carrying on pipeline business, including pre-construction and construction activities.

They are also prohibited from threatening, intimidating or getting within 10 metres of anyone actively working on the project.

In a statement, the RCMP say a meeting between Hereditary Chiefs and CGL was facilitated in the hopes of resolving the matter without police involvement, "When it was determined that the matter could not be resolved, at 3 pm the RCMP proceeded to enter the blockade in order to facilitate open access to the service road". Any move the Wet'suwet'en peoples by the RCMP, by the order of the Trudeau government, would directly violate UNDRIP. On Monday, 14 people were taken into custody after RCMP entered a fortified checkpoint at the Gidimt'en camp on a forest service road near Houston, B.C. They allege officers saw a number of fires being lit along the roadway.

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

The chiefs have been given until noon to arrive at the RCMP roadblock.

Indigenous resistance fighters and their allies are anxious that an RCMP raid is imminent, as police have gathered in Smithers, B.C., and Houston, B.C., the two closest towns to the Gidimt'en checkpoint. On Monday, the officers convened in Houston before heading to the Gidimt'en checkpoint. Gidumt'en Clan spokesperson Molly Wickham was arrested on her land. Wickham was one of the nine people arrested.

Roberts said the North Bay protest is "honouring those who came before us", and returns the support communities across the country showed when North Bay protesters fought against TransCanada's Energy East Pipeline project.

The elected councils of the 20 First Nations along the pipeline route have signed agreements supporting the project.

According to officers the area is extremely remote and say police also had to deal with limited communication.

In an open letter issued Tuesday, Coastal GasLink president Rick Gateman said the company took legal action as a last resort and while it respects the rights of people to peacefully express their points of view, safety is a key concern.



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