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11 pipeline opponents arrested as RCMP enforces injunction on Wet'suwet'en territory

Last Updated Feb 8, 2020 at 6:44 pm PDT

FILE - Wet'suwet'en Hereditary Chiefs from left, Rob Alfred, John Ridsdale, centre and Antoinette Austin, who oppose the Costal GasLink pipeline take part in a rally in Smithers B.C., on Friday January 10, 2020. The Wet'suwet'en hereditary clan chiefs and their supporters want a public investigation into the way the RCMP are controlling access along a rural road in northern British Columbia. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Summary

The arrests were made at the 27 km mark of the Morice West Forest Service Road on Saturday afternoon

Molly Wickham with the First Nation says the arrests were not required as part of the injunction

RCMP say people at the 27 km mark were ordered to move on Friday, Feb. 7 because they set up blockades that impeded work

HOUSTON (NEWS 1130) — Eleven people have been arrested after barricading themselves in a warming centre on Wet’suwet’en territory.

The arrests were made at the 27 km mark of the Morice West Forest Service Road on Saturday afternoon.

Molly Wickham with the First Nation says the arrests were not required as part of the injunction that the B.C. Supreme Court granted Coastal GasLink on Dec. 31.

“The eleven that have been arrested have been charged with breach of the injunction which is a completely bogus charge. The injunction talks about impeding [Coastal GasLink] workers trying to do work on the roadways and within the worksites. At 27 kilometre everyone was inside of the cabin, in the chief’s meeting space.”

Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs have been working to stop construction on the six-billion-dollar natural gas pipeline and their efforts have spurred a national protest movement.

The pipeline is part of the massive $40 billion LNG Canada liquefied natural gas export terminal project and runs from Dawson Creek to Kitimat on B.C.’s northwest coast.

According to the RCMP, people at the 27 km mark were ordered to move on Friday, Feb. 7 and warned they would be arrested if they did not.

“Based on actions by persons at the Warming Centre that could possibly endanger those who travel the road, and a blockade of parked vehicles, the access control checkpoint was temporarily moved,” says a release form Mounties.

“The 27 km point has been blockaded on two occasions by individuals who had been allowed access to this point. The most recent blockading of this road for several hours [Friday] interfered with the transfer of arrested persons, causing delays in their transport to the Houston Detachment. This was also intended to block the exit of Coastal GasLink vehicles, contrary to the BC Supreme Court injunction.”

Mounties say some of the people “used chains to prevent their arrest.”

The RCMP has been enforcing the injunction since Thursday morning. Four people were arrested Friday, and six on Thursday.

Protesters in cities across the country have come out against the pipeline, including in Vancouver where access to the port is being blocked for the third day in a row.

Hundreds gathered outside the B.C. legislature in Victoria Saturday, huddling around a ceremonial fire at the government building’s front steps.

Starting on Thursday night, protesters blocked rail lines in Ontario, shutting down the busy corridor between Montreal, Ottawa and Toronto.

With files from Monika Gul and the Canadain Press