Wet’suwet’en supporters form a line to halt the progress of a police vehicle at the B.C. legislature in Victoria, Monday, Feb.24, 2020. They are there in defiance of a court injunction restricting the blockage of entrances to the building. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Dirk Meissner

Chanting Wet’suwet’en supporters defy injunction; return to B.C. legislature

About 300 people were gathered at the front steps

Supporters of Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs and their bid to stop a pipeline across their traditional territories returned to the British Columbia legislature Monday night despite a court injunction prohibiting protests blocking entrances to the building.

About 300 people were gathered at the front steps, with many crowding at the building’s ceremonial gates used by dignitaries including the lieutenant-governor and members of the Royal Family.

Police were also on the steps standing next to the supporters, but there were no reports of arrests.

“We are not here seeking arrest,” said Indigenous youth leader Ta’Kiaya Blaney, speaking with a megaphone. “We are here as our duty as Indigenous youth. Bring your blankets, it’s going to be a long night.”

At about 7 p.m., the supporters blocked the progress of a police van that arrived at the legislature. They linked arms and chanted, “peaceful and with love, unarmed and non-violent.”

Several police officers got out of the van without incident.

The group placed a carved ceremonial mask on the ceremonial gates, saying it would look after them during their gathering. A fire they said was sacred was lit in a steel pit that was placed at the top of the legislature stairs.

The legislature was the scene of widespread protests on Feb. 11 that prompted the Speaker to obtain an injunction when entrances to the building were blocked.

Indigenous youth leader Saul Brown told the protest their cause is worthy despite the court injunction.

“We’re asking you to stand with us shoulder to shoulder,” he said. “You are on the right side of history.”

While the demonstrators gathered at the legislature, others blocked a road leading to the Port of Vancouver, as well as tracks carrying a Lower Mainland commuter train and a rail line outside New Hazelton.

The moves came after police arrested 10 people and dismantled a rail blockade on the Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory in eastern Ontario, stoking tensions in the dispute even as it paved the way for train service to resume.

The blockade had been set up in support of the hereditary chiefs of the Wet’suwet’en Nation, who oppose the development of the Coastal GasLink natural gas pipeline project that crosses their traditional territory in northwestern British Columbia. The pipeline, however, has the support of elected band councils along the pipeline route.

The Wet’suwet’en house chiefs set three conditions last week for meeting with federal leaders but a spokesman for the chiefs said Monday they haven’t been met.

The chiefs have called for the removal of an RCMP mobile unit, the end of foot patrols and the removal of Coastal GasLink workers from their traditional territory as conditions for meeting with the federal government.

READ MORE: Indigenous youth occupy B.C. Legislature steps amidst court injunction

Dirk Meissner, The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Coastal GasLinkIndigenous

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

BC Wildfire Service responding to a reported wildfire near Clinton

The fire is currently listed at 0.01 hectares.

BC Wildfire Service changes training of new firefighter recruits due to COVID-19

‘The BC Wildfire Service will continue to hire staff, including firefighters’

CRD Chair Margo Wagner advises Cariboo to avoid self-isolating in recreational properties

This will help avoid potentially overtaxing local healthcare services

COVID-19 case confirmed at Subway restaurant in Cache Creek

Customers who visited the site from March 25 to 27 are asked to self-isolate

First Nations, remote communities need special attention in pandemic, Freeland says

Health-care workers, seniors, Indigenous Peoples some of people most at risk, health officials say

BC Hydro offers three-month bill ‘holiday’ for those affected by COVID-19

Industrial customers can defer half of their power bills

Some April Fool’s Day jokes bring much-needed laughter; others tone deaf to COVID-19

Police are warning the public not to use the ongoing pandemic as a punchline

Canada’s 75% wage subsidy is coming, but not for several weeks: finance minister

Subsidy will cost Canada $71 billion, but push down cost of emergency benefit, Morneau said

Call before you dig into spring projects during isolation: BC 1 Call

BC 1 Call gives free checks for utilities in the area of a desired outdoor project

B.C.’s intersection speed cameras putting more tickets in the mail

One Nanaimo location delayed after speed limit reduced

B.C. records five new COVID-19 deaths, ‘zero chance’ life will return to normal in April

Province continue to have a recovery rate of about 50 per cent

High cost, limited coverage for asthma medicine a concern during COVID-19 pandemic

B.C. man says he skips puffs to save money, but others have it worse

B.C. man sick with COVID-19 calls it a ‘horrible disease’

Tim Green says he has ‘extreme coughing fits every hour’ to clear his lungs

Most Read