Locals protest B.C. RCMP action

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Locals protest B.C. RCMP action

A rally is planned in Edmonton Tuesday in support of a northern B.C. First Nation that erected a blockade to restrict access to a natural gas pipeline project. A speech by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, where he was planning talk about First Nations self-government, was delayed by RCMP after demonstrators showed up at the building. They were greeted by about the same number of pipeline supporters who were encouraged to come out by Canada Action, a Calgary-based lobby group.

One of Tuesday's largest protests began on Parliament Hill and proceeded through downtown Ottawa.

"The primary concerns of the police are public safety, police officer safety, and preservation of the right to peaceful, lawful and safe protest, within the terms set by the Supreme Court in the injunction".

"We did expect some to show up but the forces that they used, the awesome numbers that they used, the tactics that they used, were actually something we did not expect as peaceful people".

Despite what appeared to a be a subdued start to their interaction with demonstrators, the force said in a statement that night that more than a dozen people had been taken into custody, adding that officers felt confident the standoff could not be resolved without their involvement.

"Under the authority of Wet'suwet'en hereditary chiefs, these land defenders are actively practicing their inherent Indigenous Title and Rights to protect the land and pursue their right to self-determination". One of the people arrested was Molly Wickham, spokeswoman for the Cas Yex house of the Gidimt'en clan.

In Vancouver, hundreds of people have said they will be attending a demonstration in the city, planned for Tuesday.

The injunction gave protesters 72 hours to remove obstructions and the police say that had not happened, preventing Coastal Gaslink Pipeline Ltd. from being able to do any work in the area. She said an elder arrested on Monday had already been released.

The RCMP have now installed a roadblock on the Wedzin Kwa (Morice River) Road, through Gidumt'en territory and the only access road to Unist'ot'en Camp, effectively cutting off communications, media, and supplies to those living there, including clients of the Healing Center.

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Wickham, who has fielded calls from India and the United Kingdom about the pipeline resistance, said it's been "surreal" to see the worldwide response.

Article 10 of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples clearly states "Indigenous peoples shall not be forcibly removed from their land or territories". "Would you do that to China or Italy or another sovereign nation?"

Organizers believe the police are headed for Unist'ot'en Camp, members of which are listed in the court injunction.

Temporary exclusion zones and road closures were established in the area and remains in place.

LNG Canada announced in October that it was moving ahead with its plans for the Kitimat export facility.

The pipeline now under dispute is part of $40 billion natural gas project being built by Coastal GasLink, a subsidiary of a Canadian company called TransCanada, that will move gas from the province's northeast to the Pacific coast. Since then, Canadians from around the nation have been siding with the We'suwer'en people and protests have been popping up around the nation, including downtown Toronto.

Those in attendance voiced their opposition to the events in B.C. and performed traditional Indigenous rituals such as smudging, a ceremony that involves the burning of sacred herbs. Under 'Anuc niwh'it'en (Wet'suwet'en law) all five clans of the Wet'suwet'en have unanimously opposed all pipeline proposals.

"This is wrong and we have to stop it". In much of Canada, land rights are determined by treaties signed between the colonial government and indigenous tribes.

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