Hundreds march through downtown Vancouver after pipeline protesters arrested

Hundreds march through downtown Vancouver after pipeline protesters arrested

If you didn't already know, on Monday RCMP officers pushed through the barricade that was set up by the Wet'suwer'en people in order to protest the pipeline. There were also protests in Ottawa and Halifax.

"If this was really about the "rule of law" then governments would be honouring the rights and title of First Nations in their traditional territories, which are recognized by Canada's own courts", Perry Bellegarde said in a statement.

Coastal GasLink, operated by TransCanada Corp., said it has negotiated agreements with all of the elected bands along a proposed 670-kilometre route created to bring gas to the B.C. coast for overseas shipping as part of a $40-billion LNG Canada project.

"However, it has been my view that LNG Canada has shown they understand the importance of consultation and meaningful reconciliation with First Nations and that's why they have signed agreements with every First Nation along the pipeline corridor".

The RCMP's enforcement of the injunction has been met with condemnation from Indigenous leaders like Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, but in a statement, the Mounties argue they're an impartial player in this conflict.

Members of the Wet'suwet'en Nation had established two camps along the forest service road with fortified checkpoints: Gidimt'en and Unist'ot'en.

"The actions of the RCMP as tools of the government are colonial and fly in the face of any form of reconciliation".

"We are proud of the people who were arrested because they did the right thing".

Wickham, who has fielded calls from India and the United Kingdom about the pipeline resistance, said it's been "surreal" to see the global response.

"To me they're working for the company, they're not keeping no peace".

Police kept the prime minister and Indigenous Services Minister Jane Philpott, Crown-Indigenous Relations Minister Carolyn Bennett and Environment Minister Catherine McKenna out of a Sussex Drive building in Ottawa where Trudeau was to address a forum bringing together federal officials and representatives from self-governing First Nations that have modern treaties with the Crown.

She said she believes the issue is gaining attention now because the Gidimt'en have dispelled the myth that it's only individuals from one clan opposing the project.

New Democrat MP Nathan Cullen, who represents the area, said the conflict has been developing for years - in part because of a failure to recognize the nuances between elected and hereditary Indigenous governments. He estimated about 200 police officers were used to enforce the court injunction.

LNG Canada announced in October that it was moving ahead with its plans for the Kitimat export facility. Police had arrived in the area over the weekend, gathering in Houston and Smithers, the two municipalities closest to the checkpoints.

"I don't want to diminish the significance of the protests yesterday but they were not uniformly focused on Wet'suwet'en territory", he said.

Tait says there had been concerns at the Unist'ot'en camp, citing a "tense climate" there with the possibility of demonstrators being removed for restricting access to the pipeline. These protests have caused a complete standstill in the Toronto core as community members march with signs and chant in protest of the BC pipeline.

About 500 people gathered at the B.C. legislature in Victoria chanting and carrying placards.

Protesters storm a building where Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was scheduled to address a forum bringing together federal officials and representatives from self-governing First Nations that have "modern" treaties with the Crown in Ottawa on January 8, 2019. "The government is sending Indigenous people across the country a message that greed and economic benefits trump environmental protection and that Canada has no respect for traditional Wet'suwet'en laws".

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