Rally held in downtown Calgary in support of B.C. pipeline protesters
Published Tuesday, January 8, 2019 8:01AM MST Last Updated Tuesday, January 29, 2019 9:20AM MST
RCMP enforced a court injunction against a camp of LNG opponents in northern B.C. on Monday arresting 14 people and rallies in support of the protest were held across the country on Tuesday.y.
Members of the Gidimt'en clan of the Wet'suwet'en First Nation set up a camp and a checkpoint along the Morice West Service Road in the town of Houston, blocking access to TransCanada's planned Coastal GasLink project.
The 670-kilometre pipeline would connect to LNG Canada's $40 billion natural gas operation in Kitimat and an interim injunction was granted by the B.C. Supreme Court last month to stop protesters from blocking access to it.
In a statement, RCMP said officers spoke with representatives of the camp about the removal of the roadblock but realized the situation could not be resolved and took action.
Mounties say the arrests took place at the Gitdumt'en checkpoint and that 14 people were taken into custody.
The RCMP statement says a temporary exclusion zone has been set up in the area where the police do not allow access to anyone who is not part of the enforcement team.
RCMP say the zone remains in place and will be consistently re-assessed.
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.
Rallies in support of the protest took place across the country on Tuesday and a rally was held in Calgary at noon in front of TransCanada’s downtown headquarters.
People for and against pipelines attended the rally.
“It’s really important to remember that these are peaceful people. This is their home and if any non-indigenous person had a right-of-way going through their home, it would be contradictory to have the police forcibly remove them but this is done to our people on a regular basis. If we’re 152 years old and haven’t figured that out then reconciliation needs to be reexamined,” said Michelle Robinson, Indigenous liaison.
“We have, again, agreements on behalf of all the elected First Nations Chiefs all the way along the route and the courts fully support in their injunction what is going on and so I think what is illegal is blocking the legal, court approved work on this pipeline and I have more concerns over anyone who’s going to try to stop the move from poverty to prosperity of those First Nations, of the province and of the nation,” said Lynn Nellis, Canada Action.
Construction on the $6.2 billion pipeline from Dawson Creek to Kitimat was scheduled to begin this month.
Tensions flaring between pro-pipeline supporters and those in solidarity of Wet’suwet’en First Nation at rally in front of Transcanada Headquarters in downtown #Calgary #yyc @CTVCalgary pic.twitter.com/QSmbwZTb61— Mark Villani (@CTVMarkVillani) January 8, 2019