Update: The morning session at the BC Legislature has been cancelled in light of these protests and will reconvene at 1 p.m.
The Throne speech is still expected to take place at 2 p.m. as planned.
— BC Legislature (@BCLegislature) February 11, 2020
Earlier: Supporters of the Wet’suwet’en anti-pipeline movement in northern BC are entering their sixth day of protesting in Victoria by disrupting ceremonial events held before the provincial government’s throne speech.
Demonstrators began the day by protesting at the Victoria Helijet terminal where MLAs arrived to kick off the spring legislature in the capital city.
The day of the throne speech traditionally begins by the lieutenant governor reading the speech on the front steps of the legislature, as well as a 15-gun salute.
However these ceremonies were cancelled owing to the group of Indigenous youth and allies that have been camped at the steps for approximately six days.
This morning, protestors began blocking all 16 entrances to the legislature forcing MLAs to push through the blockade with the help of security personnel.
Members of the press are also being prevented from entering the parliament building to report on today’s throne speech.
— BC Today (@BCTodayOfficial) February 11, 2020
As of 10 a.m., Victoria Police officers have been deployed to the legislature to help Legislature Assembly Protective Services clear the blockade.
— Victoria Police (@vicpdcanada) February 11, 2020
In a press release for today’s demonstration, the Union of British Columbia Indian Chiefs denounced the arrests in northern B.C.
“The RCMP are carrying out a violent raid on unceded Wet’suwet’en territory under Provincial and Federal watch to enforce Coastal GasLink’s injunction,” reads the statement.
“Indigenous youth, the Union of BC Indian Chiefs, and allies including ENGOs, municipal, provincial and federal representatives will gather in solidarity with the Wet’suwet’en Nation.”
Posted by Wet'suwet'en Solidarity Victoria on Tuesday, February 11, 2020
While Premier John Horgan has been silent of the events of the day, BC Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson took to Twitter to call for an “orderly conclusion” to the blockade at the Legislature.
While peaceful protest is part of our democracy, the safety, security & function of the Legislature is essential so we can do our work for B.C. We look forward to an orderly conclusion to the current blockade of the Legislature & essential infrastructure throughout B.C. #bcpoli
— Andrew Wilkinson (@Wilkinson4BC) February 11, 2020
Demonstrators in Victoria have now entered their second week of expressing solidarity with the Wet’suwet’en anti-pipeline movement by taking over public spaces.
Indigenous youth and allies across Canada are joining the growing movement using the hashtag #shutdowncanada after RCMP arrested six people who were blocking the construction of the Coastal GasLink pipeline on Wet’suwet’en territory in northern BC, in compliance with an injunction order issued by the BC Supreme Court.
On Monday evening, demonstrators blocked both the Johnson Street bridge and the Bay Street bridge for approximately an hour as part of their movement to #shutdowncanada.