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

Music education remains important, especially during pandemic

‘Music really does lift people up in times of trial,’ says Sandowne music teacher

Local liquor store raising funds for food bank

On May 30, a portion of sales at JAK’s Beer Wine & Spirits will be donated to the food bank

A second wave of COVID-19 is probable, if history tells us anything

B.C.’s top doctor says that what health officials have learned this round will guide response in future

City of Campbell River re-opening most park amenities and outdoor washrooms

Splash park, playgrounds, sports fields, outdoor volleyball courts, indoor facilities not yet

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world in ways that would have… Continue reading

Mirror business directory and map

If you’d like to be added to the list, shoot us an email

‘Paralyzed by fear’: B.C. woman details anxiety, grief at Italian relief hospital

Sheila Vicic spent two months in Italy as the country grappled with COVID-19

Dr. Bonnie Henry given new name in B.C. First Nation ceremony: ‘one who is calm among us’

The provincial health officer was honoured in a May 22 ceremony at elementary school in Hazelton

CAMH survey looks at binge-drinking, financial anxiety during COVID

Alcohol may be used as a coping mechanism for those whose careers may have been sidelined due to the pandemic

Half of Canadians say governments are hiding something about COVID-19: poll

More than a third of people believe the virus was created in a lab

‘A bottomless well of love for people and communities’

Parksville Qualicum Beach News editor JR Rardon dies at age 61

Dump truck in Nanaimo snags power lines, snaps hydro pole, crashes

No injuries in incident Monday morning on Old Victoria Road

Most Read