Supporters of an Indigenous anti-pipeline protest are gathering in front of the BC Legislature building in downtown Victoria today at noon.
The rally is in support of the Wet’suwet’en First Nations people who oppose TransCanada’s Coastal GasLink pipeline, which crosses through their territory to connect with LNG Canada’s $40-billion export terminal in Kitimat.
The protest is being headed by Facebook activist group “Rise and Resist”. The event description says that rally participants will stand outside of the legislature building and “peacefully refuse access to [Belleville Street] in symbolic solidarity with the rights of traditional leaders to refuse access to their territories.”
The protest was also prompted after area RCMP were given an injunction enforcement notice to remove a non-violent blockade that several Wet’suwet’en First Nations people had established in a planned TransCanada construction area.
“The conflict between the oil and gas industries, Indigenous communities, and governments all across the province has been ongoing for a number of years,” said BC RCMP in a statement.
“This has never been a police issue. In fact, the BC RCMP is impartial and we respect the rights of individuals to peaceful, lawful and safe protest.”
“The RCMP’s Division Liaison Team and Indigenous Policing Section have maintained a dialogue with the residents of the Unist’ot’en camp in the hopes that they would abide by the injunction and remove the gate on Morice River Bridge. Unfortunately that has not happened and Coastal Gaslink Pipeline Ltd. have been unable to conduct work in this area.”
Victoria’s protest is just one of many that are have been planned around the country.
“Our message is clear: indigenous law is the law of the land on unceded territories, and traditional title-holders have the right to refuse access to their lands,” says Rise and Resist.
“Disregarding this ancient law in order to further expand fossil fuel production during a time of extreme climate crisis is totally unacceptable.”
“We are now preparing for a protracted struggle. The hereditary chiefs of the Wet’suwet’en and the land defenders holding the front lines have no intention of allowing Wet’suwet’en sovereignty to be violated.”