VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – The sound of drums and songs have filled the streets of downtown Vancouver Tuesday as part of a international day of protest.
This follows the arrest of over a dozen people on a northern BC First Nation.
It was a jarring scene on Wet’suwet’en territory on Monday. Video posted to Facebook shows RCMP officers climbing over a barricade and scuffling with demonstrators, all in the name of enforcing an injunction allowing access to Coastal GasLink work crews.
In the hours since, several more events have been added to a day of action in support of the Wet’suwet’en people.
Hundreds of people are taking part in two rallies in Vancouver — one which started at 11:30 a.m. outside the BC Supreme Court building and is winding its way through the streets to Victory Square. The other is being held outside MP Jody Raybould-Wilson’s office on West Broadway.
The B.C. Supreme Court granted the injunction last month to Trans Mountain to build a Coastal GasLink LNG line through the Wet’suwe’ten territory. The order gave demonstrators 72 hours to clear out and give access.
RCMP say they arrested 14 people Monday evening at a checkpoint on Morice West Forest Service Road for various offences, including alleged violations of the injunction order.
RCMP move in to make arrests, enforcing an injunction order on Morice West Forest Service Road on Jan. 7, 2019. (Source: facebook.com/wetsuwetenstrong)
In a statement, the RCMP said 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 p.m., the RCMP proceeded to enter the blockade in order to facilitate open access to the service road.”
The statement also said there are “erroneous reports that the RCMP jammed communications in the area, preventing the media and public from providing information about the unfolding situation.”
It says reports of military being at the police enforcement are also “incorrect.”
WATCH: RCMP attend anti-pipeline protest
Local MP says he’s committed to ensuring safety, peace
The MP for Skeena-Bulkley Valley says he’s happy with the peace protesters have maintained throughout their demonstrations.
Following his visit to an exclusion zone set up by Mounties near the blockade, Nathan Cullen said he spoke with protesters, police, and the company behind the LNG pipeline.
“I think it’s my job, I’m the Member of Parliament for this area and there’s a very large project proposed,” he said. “It’s got support from many parts along the pipeline and at the terminal in Kitimat, there’s been one place — and it’s this place — that’s been opposed for some time.”
Cullen said he has asked that officers keep the peace and maintain respect for the First Nations.
As of Tuesday morning, a GoFundMe page to raise funds to get supplies to the demonstrators at the checkpoint, as well as help pay for any legal fees, has raised over $80,000.
– With files from Estefania Duran, Hana Mae Nassar