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Premier says Victoria anti-pipeline demonstration 'not peaceful'

Citynews 1130 Vancouver

Last Updated Feb 12, 2020 at 10:58 pm PDT

Protesters gathered outside the Legislature Feb. 11, 2020. (Liza Yuza, NEWS 1130 photo)
Summary

Demonstrators blocked MLAs and employees of the legislature from entering the building

Up to the courts to decide how pipeline project proceeds

Granville Street Bridge blocked in support of hereditary leaders who oppose project

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – B.C. Premier John Horgan says Tuesday’s anti-pipeline demonstration at the legislature was not peaceful and unlike anything he’s seen before.

The comment is his first since dozens of people blocked the entrances to the legislature in Victoria prior to the throne speech, in which the province vowed to push ahead with the liquefied natural gas project.

“These are extraordinary times. These are extraordinary events,” he said.

However, “To have a group of people say to others, ‘You are illegitimate, you are not allowed in here, you are somehow a sellout to the values of Canadians,’ is just plain wrong.”

Demonstrators blocked MLAs and employees of the legislature from entering the building in an effort to show their opposition to the pipeline through Wet’suwet’en territory up north.

The Victoria Police say four victims reported assaults during the protests.


The investigation is ongoing, and police are asking any witnesses to come forward.

The Coastal GasLink pipeline would span 670 kilometres and cost billions of dollars. The company has received approval from a number of Indigenous leaders along the pipeline’s proposed route, however, some hereditary chiefs say they didn’t give their consent to the project.

Horgan added it is up to the courts to decide how the project proceeds. Those unhappy with it have access to the same courts and can, when the time comes, vote for another government.

“This is the foundation of our system and I think I’m very proud to be part of that.”

As for the Wet’suwet’en, Horgan said he will continue to focus on reconciliation.

“Again, I want to focus on those who want to make progress rather continue to show up and not make progress with those who don’t want to make progress.”

WATCH: Victoria councillor doubts claims of assault

The protest at the legislature was just one of several demonstrations earlier in the week.

More than 50 people were arrested Monday after refusing to comply with an injunction to clear blockades at ports in Vancouver and Delta.

Another blockade was set up Tuesday at Cambie Street and Broadway and lasted more than 16 hours.

On Wednesday, protesters marched to B.C. Supreme Court in Downtown Vancouver, and the Granville Street Bridge was blocked in support of hereditary leaders who oppose the pipeline through Wet’suwet’en territory.

Anti-pipeline protestors are challenging the injunction which led to the port arrests, claiming it violated their free expression rights and because they do not follow colonial law, said Natalie Knight.