Protest held in uptown Waterloo to support Wet'suwet'en First Nation

10 January, 2019, 00:41 | Author: Brooke Harris
  • Camp Facebook page

"Building consensus under duress will make the resolution of the situation in northern British Columbia very hard", Perry Bellegarde said in a statement Tuesday.

One man at the North Bay protest told CTV Northern Ontario demonstrators want "peace and dialogue" and want politicians to demand that the RCMP "not move in and forcibly remove sovereign people from their own land".

Drumming and chanting could be heard in social media posts form the scene. "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 demonstration was one of several held across Canada on Tuesday in response to the arrest of 14 people at a blockade maintained by the Wet'suwet'en First Nation on its traditional territory in central British Columbia.

The march in Vancouver is part of a larger worldwide day of action organized in support of those at the Unist'ot'en camp.

Other events are being planned for as far away as NY, and even Italy, according to social media.

A similar gathering organized by a group called "Rise and Resist" also took place in from the of the B.C. legislature in Victoria.

Almost 40 people gathered outside Minister Patty Hajdu's office to protest the federal government's purchase of the Trans Mountain Pipeline.

Horgan said those demonstrations weren't exclusively focused on what's happening in northern B.C. On Monday, the officers convened in Houston before heading to the Gidimt'en checkpoint.

In a statement, RCMP say officers spoke with representatives of the camp about the removal of a road block along the roadway, and set up a meeting between hereditary chiefs and Coastal GasLink.

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Members of the Wet'suwet'en Nation had established two camps along the forest service road with fortified checkpoints: Gidimt'en and Unist'ot'en.

The company says it has signed agreements with all First Nations along the route for LNG Canada's $40-billion liquefied natural gas project in Kitimat, but demonstrators argue Wet'suwet'en house chiefs, who are hereditary rather than elected, have not given consent.

"Enforcing Canada's laws means upholding human rights and First Nations rights".

A crowd of close to a hundred also gathered in uptown Waterloo Tuesday night, to show their support for the Wet'suwet'en First Nation.

Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, the longtime president of the Union of British Columbia Indian Chiefs, a group that advocates for indigenous rights, said the Wet'suwet'en case could shape how energy and land rights issues are talked about heading into federal elections scheduled for October.

"There are no orcas on Wet'suwet'en territory - there were those that were highlighting that". Canada and B.C. should do the same.

In a statement, NDP MP Nathan Cullen-whose riding includes the Houston area-expressed his support for the nation's hereditary leadership.

The checkpoint was put in place three weeks ago after a B.C. Supreme Court ruling and is the second to go up. "So if he isn't going to engage on something like this, I am not sure what would qualify".

"What happened today is that our trespass laws were broken, but according to Canadian law, which is being steered by industry, they say that these people are now criminals", said Wet'suwet'en Chief Namoks streamed on Facebook Live. She was released but the 13 other people arrested were taken to Prince George, he said. "But I think that there's not room for us to have our voice here because a lot of racism has come from these type of protests and they haven't made space for Indigenous people at all", Robinson said.

After the arrests, Mounties reiterated that their focus remains on the safety of all those involved in the situation, but said "the RCMP is given discretion to decide how and when to enforce the order".

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