VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – Telling protesters they’re in violation of an injunction, Vancouver Police arrested at least 43 Wet’suwet’en supporters who were blocking entry to the city’s main port on Monday.
“You are prohibited from physically interfering with any person or any vehicle attempting to access or exit Vancouver Fraser Port Authority land,” police told demonstraters.
According to the VPD, protesters “received several requests from police” to leave the intersection of East Hastings and Clark, and were even given warnings before being detained. All 43 people have been since been released with conditions.
Officers were met by chanting, with protesters yelling “stand up, fight back” in response to efforts to enforce the court order, which was issued late Sunday. But after days of impeding business at the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority, it appears the standoff is over.
— Kurtis Doering (@KDnewsguy) February 10, 2020
A blockade at the Deltaport has also been taken down after 14 people were taken away in handcuffs Monday morning. Police say they were in contact with protesters since the blockade went up on Saturday.
Emergency heath services were called for one protester “out of an abundance of caution,” according to Delta police.
After providing protesters a number of opportunities to leave without being arrested, Delta Police acted upon an injunction this AM, to remove protesters from Deltaport Way. Protesters packed their belongings and 14 individuals were arrested. https://t.co/cmLlJmjGmE pic.twitter.com/bcgy2gJWW6
— Delta Police (@deltapolice) February 10, 2020
Police said they tried to find “peaceful resolution” while enforcing the injunction, but demonstrators refused to give up.
Last bits of blockade being picked up. Last few protesters being put in police vehicles at Deltaport terminal. pic.twitter.com/p1zNBxcd4D
— Mike Lloyd (@llikemoyd) February 10, 2020
“Police provided the protesters with a number of opportunities to leave without being arrested,” said Cris Leykauf, spokesperson for Delta Police. “Those who did not wish to be arrested were asked to stand to the side, where they could also witness the arrests if they chose to do so. Everyone involved was treated respectfully, and with dignity.”
Chanting also rang out through the morning in Delta, with demonstrators yelling “solidarity with Indigenous sovereignty,” as officers moved in.
Some demonstrators told NEWS 1130 the injunction is just an “illegitimate attempt to repress” their activities, and that they would do what they could to resist.
“We’ve held the port for more than 30 hours and counting,” Isabelle said ahead of arrests being made. “We have a strong crew here who are holding it down. We’re going to continue to do what we can to hold the blockade strong.”
Protests began the same day the RCMP began enforcing an injunction on Wet’suwet’en territory in order to allow construction of a 670-kilometre Coastal GasLink liquefied natural gas pipeline to proceed. Police have since arrested 21 people in north-central B.C. who are opposing the pipeline.
Self-titled land defenders have said Coastal GasLink doesn’t have the support of hereditary chiefs to build the line, despite the company getting approvals from a number of Indigenous groups along the proposed path. Within the many houses of the Wet’suwet’en, a number of hereditary leaders have said they are in support of the pipeline and do not condone the actions of protesters.
Protesters have also been targeting trains and roads, blocking access in many areas from B.C. to Ontario since Thursday.
“The disruption to port operations has had a significant impact on Canadians across the country who rely on businesses that import and export goods through the port for employment and products that support us every day,” Danielle Jang with the Vancouver Port Authority explained.
Meanwhile, calling the RCMP’s actions “violent,” the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs announced that Indigenous youths, as well as municipal, provincial, and federal representatives, were planning to rally in Victoria on Tuesday to speak out against the escalation in tensions over the LNG pipeline.
“Speakers will respond to the unlawful escalation of the RCMP and violations of Wet’suwet’en law and Indigenous rights taking place under the orders of the injunction,” the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs said.
-With files from Paul James and Lisa Steacy