Economy

Hamilton residents organize rally to support Indigenous pipeline protesters in B.C.

Hamilton residents organize rally to support Indigenous pipeline protesters in B.C.

The arrest of 14 people at an Indigenous blockade in a remote area of northern British Columbia became a flash point Tuesday that sparked protests across the country.

In Ottawa, demonstrators marched from Parliament Hill to a government building on Sussex Drive, where Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was slated to address a forum of leaders from First Nations who have signed modern treaties and self-government agreements.

Mounties said earlier Monday they would enforce the interim injunction issued by the B.C. Supreme Court in mid-December.

"We're starting off 2019 with a bang", he said to cheers and applause.

People for and against pipelines attended the rally.

One man at the North Bay protest told CTV Northern Ontario demonstrators want "peace and dialogue" and want politicians to demand that the RCMP "not move in and forcibly remove sovereign people from their own land". "In any situation such as this, we hope all parties find a safe and mutually respectful resolution", he said.

"It's about getting out of poverty and finding a way for our people".

The Wet'suwet'en hereditary chiefs have not made any agreement with the Canadian or British Columbian governments to surrender or permit access to Wet'suwet'en lands for any pipeline corridors or construction activities.

"Building consensus under duress will make the resolution of the situation in northern British Columbia very hard", Perry Bellegarde said in a statement Tuesday.

"There are very real communities being affected by this - terrorized by this". "And I am confident that they can do this".

"We recognize the right for people to engage in peaceful protest".

Ridsdale said that the chiefs are "hurt" by actions of Coastal GasLink, and he accused the RCMP of being "puppets (of) industry and a government that won't stand up for Indigenous rights".

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Jennifer Wickham, a spokeswoman for the Gidimt'en checkpoint, on Sunday said supporters had seen police staff and vehicles in Houston and Smithers. She said an elder arrested on Monday had already been released.

Members of the Gidimt'en clan of the Wet'suwet'en First Nation had set up a camp to control access to a pipeline project that runs across their territory.

"It is a national issue", Sinclair said. He estimated about 200 police officers were used to enforce the court injunction.

In a statement, RCMP say officers spoke with representatives of the camp about the removal of a road block along the roadway, and set up a meeting between hereditary chiefs and Coastal GasLink.

LNG Canada announced on October 2 that its joint venture participants had taken a positive investment decision to construct the Kitimat export facility.

Construction on the $6.2 billion pipeline from Dawson Creek to Kitimat was scheduled to begin this month.

In Halifax, about 150 protesters gathered on the steps of Halifax Regional Police headquarters, where the RCMP has a significant presence.

"The RCMP's ultimatum, to allow TransCanada access to unceded Wet'suwet'en territory or face police invasion, is an act of war". Canada and B.C. should do the same.

Protesters storm a building where Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was scheduled to address a forum bringing together federal officials and representatives from self-governing First Nations that have "modern" treaties with the Crown in Ottawa on January 8, 2019.

"This is wrong and we have to stop it". The violent separation of our people and our lands is no different today than it was 150 years ago.We fear for our neighbours at Unist'ot'en Camp who now face a similar prospect of state violence.Today there are worldwide solidarity actions with the Wet'suwet'en.

- With files from Dan Healing in Calgary, Dirk Meissner in Victoria, Mike MacDonald in Halifax, Kristy Kirkup in Ottawa, Hina Alam in Vancouver and Paola Loriggio in Toronto.