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

National Canadian Film Day will celebrate canuck cinema on April 22

Movie lovers are encouraged to join in online movie screenings and livestream conversations

Fraser Valley A cappella ensemble Belle Voci continues to sing together with help from technology

The choir produced a cell phone video recording of Lay a Garland by Robert Lucas de Pearsall

VIDEO: Printing up help for health care workers in Langley

Volunteers use 3D printers to make plastic ‘ear savers’ that ease pressure of safety mask straps

Dancing and cheering together, apart

How Xtreme Cheer & Dance in Langley is handling the COVID-19 outbreak

Fraser Health stops hospital television set service to limit COVID-19 spread

Dr. Victoria Lee said personal mobile devices can still be used by patients at this time

Canadians awake to extra COVID-19 emergency benefit money, fear it’s a mistake

The CRA and federal officials are working to clarify the confusion around payments

B.C. secures motel, hotel rooms for COVID-19 shelter space

Community centres, rooms reserved for pandemic self-isolation

Sanders drops 2020 bid, leaving Biden as likely nominee

Sanders plans to talk to his supporters later Wednesday

B.C. faith leaders, Horgan discuss need for virtual religious ceremonies

Leaders were open to providing other ways to celebrate during the pandemic

Emergency COVID-19 funding now available for children with special needs

Funding to be used to help support families through uncertain times of pandemic

Revenue dip needed to qualify for wage subsidy drops to 15% in March: Trudeau

Wage subsidy would over 75% of each employee’s salary for qualifying businesses

B.C. closes all provincial parks for COVID-19 protection

Easter weekend approaches, camping already closed

Air Canada says it will apply for wage subsidy to rehire workers after cutting 16,500 jobs

Air Canada said March revenues fell by more than 30 per cent year over year

Most Read