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'This is war': Anti-pipeline protesters occupy David Eby Vancouver constituency office

Last Updated Feb 14, 2020 at 12:12 am PDT

Summary

Dozens of protesters occupied David Eby's constituency office in Vancouver Thursday

Protesters are demanding RCMP and Coastal GasLink withdraw from Wet'suwet'en territory

David Eby, who was in Victoria when his office was occupied, said demonstrators crossed a line

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) -The Vancouver constituency office of B.C.’s Attorney General was taken over Thursday by anti-pipeline protesters and supporters of Wet’suwet’en people opposed to a GasLink pipeline project.

Upwards of 50 people occupied the office and surrounding sidewalk, singing, drumming, giving speeches and milling about the room. Attorney General David Eby was in Victoria at the time of the protest.

“This is war,” one of the demonstrators said as she spoke to the crowd. “We are here to demonstrate in a peaceful way.”

Protesters are demanding the RCMP and Coastal GasLink withdraw from the Wet’suwet’en territory, where the company is building a natural gas pipeline. In a release, organizers said they want LNG Canada and Coastal GasLink to take back all their permits to build the pipeline until the project receives “free, prior, and informed consent” from First Nations the line crosses. Nearly all elected band councils and some hereditary chiefs have publicly supported the pipeline, however some hereditary chiefs of Wet’suwet’en do not.

The protesters also want LNG Canada and Coastal GasLink to “use your power” to stop the court injunctions being enforced by RCMP on Wet’suwet’en territory.

“Well people will know well that I fully support the right to protest, but where that jeopardizes the safety of my staff or the security of the information we have about our constituents as we try to help them, that’s not okay,” Eby said from Victoria. “I don’t know what’s happening exactly in my office right now … but I trust that we’ll find a resolution.”

This is just the latest action taken by protesters, who say they are standing in solidarity with Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs who oppose the pipeline, and claim Coastal GasLink didn’t get their consent to build it.

“We are disrupting business as usual in David Eby’s office to highlight his hand in the ongoing genocide of Indigenous peoples required by the Canadian colonial project,” Herb Varley, an organizer of the solidarity actions in Vancouver said.

Eby told reporters he’s met with “many individuals from many different protest groups” on a number of topics. However, he said there is a line between lawfully protesting and putting others in jeopardy.

“The line’s pretty clear to me. At my office we go above and beyond to accommodate protesters, but the line for me is the safety of my staff, where that’s jeopardized, and the security of information that we hold for constituents that we’re doing case work for,” he said.

It’s unclear how many staff members were in the office when protesters moved in. Eby said, however, that they were in contact with police.

Meanwhile, a second protest also broke out in Vancouver, at the University of British Columbia, but has since wrapped up.

-With files from Liza Yuzda and Bethlehem Mariam