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'Get off of our land': protesters march in Vancouver supporting Wet'suwet'en anti-LNG camp

Last Updated Jan 12, 2019 at 4:57 pm PDT

A crowd gathers at the intersection of Main and Hastings in support of an anti-pipeline camp in Northern B.C. (Martin MacMahon, NEWS 1130)

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) — A march got underway in Vancouver Saturday afternoon in support of a Wet’suwet’en camp near Smithers built in protest of a proposed LNG pipeline by Coastal GasLink.

Protesters met in Victory Square around 2 p.m. at Hastings and Cambie, and marched toward Main Street where they blocked the intersection and gave speeches rallying for their cause. TransLink detoured the 95 B-Line away from the march, and police warned drivers to avoid the area. A Facebook event for the march has more than 700 attendees.

RELATED: Wet’suwet’en strike tentative deal with RCMP allowing access to prevent raid

Event creator Helen Tommy, part of the Wet’suwet’en Nation, says the march is meant to support the Nation’s hereditary chief’s opposition to the pipeline.

She started weeping when asked about the police raid back at home.

“I felt so much sadness that I couldn’t be standing there with my people, that my family came to Vancouver to get away from the oppression that’s been on our land for many years, and yet we still face it down here every day,” she says. “We want our land back, we want our culture back, and we’re not going to stand to be pushed aside anymore, because, not only do we have responsibility to our nation, and our waters, but we have responsibilities to our entire world. If we keep putting these pipelines through, we’re not going to have much to run off of later on in life.”

She says it’s not just this pipeline in particular that is a problem, but the oil industry in general.

“These companies that come in and they say that they respect us and that they’re going to give us so much, where is the proof? There is none anymore,” she says. “Get off of our land. It’s not yours anymore, and it was never yours to begin with.”

Vancouver Police Department is asking people to avoid the area while the protest continues.