VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) — Hundreds took to the streets in Vancouver Saturday, joining protesters across the country in support of the Wet’suwet’en Nation’s opposition to a pipeline running through their territory.
“The Wet’suwet’en people are not alone. They enjoy the massive support of an enormous amount of individual people and groups across this country and internationally,” says Grand Chief Stewart Phillip who spoke at the rally.
On Friday, the RCMP was given the go-ahead to enforce an injunction against those protesting a multi-billion dollar LNG pipeline in Northern B.C.
Phillip says hopes cross-country rallies send a message to Mounties.
“The other message that was loud and clear at today’s rally is the people that are demonstrating in support and solidarity are also demanding that the RCMP stand down,” he explains. “The RCMP should not be acting as a security entity for industry, for Coastal GasLink”
Grand Chief Stewart Phillip "We will not tolerate that type of aggression against our elders, our knowledge keepers and our sacred people" on raid on wet'suwet'en last year pic.twitter.com/I9gOvUaozR
— UBCIC (@UBCIC) January 11, 2020
Coastal GasLink has signed agreements with all 20 elected First Nation councils along the planned 670 kilometre route from northeastern British Columbia to LNG Canada’s export terminal in Kitimat on the coast, but hereditary chiefs say the project does not have their consent.
“Coastal GasLink does not enjoy the support of the hereditary chiefs and the people they represent,” Phillip says.
The chiefs have asked RCMP to ensure that officers maintain the peace and do not take violent action against pipeline opponents, who have set up camps and felled trees along the road toward a construction site for the natural gas pipeline.
After a similar court-order was granted last year, RCMP forced their way through blockades and raided the protest camp. More than a dozen were arrested.
“People at the rally made it abundantly clear that they do not want a repeat of what happened last year with regard to snipers and paramilitary assault teams going in and attacking the Wet’suwet’en elders,” Phillip says.
With files from Tarnjit Parmar and The Canadian Press