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

Just Posted

Vancouver Island sisters surprised to find themselves reunited at seniors care home after years apart

Eden Gardens Nanaimo staff member noticed new care home resident’s resemblance to another resident

Victoria Police see new trends in calls due to COVID-19

Police link jump in domestic, mental health calls to pandemic

PQBeat Podcast: Talking cars with Philip Wolf and Peter McCully

Listen: Chat includes best and worst vehicles, dream rides and more

PHOTOS: Victoria photographer documents families in isolation with the Front Door Project

Using a longer lens, Chelsea Smith is able to take family portraits from across the street

Vancouver Islanders step up to mask the response to COVID-19

Amateurs and professionals alike are sewing masks to stave off expected shortages

Speed, alcohol not ruled out as factors in crash that left one person dead

Police watchdog, Campbell River Major Crimes Unit are investigating

Evening world update: U.S. restrictions extended 30 days; NY deaths near 1,000

Comprehensive world update, with the latest developments in the COVID-19 crisis

Duncan man asks community to donate RVs to essential workers in need of quarantine

Ryan Oakley creates a Facebook group to help coordinate the effort

B.C. Ferries passengers staying away, as asked, during COVID-19 pandemic

Ferry corporation says ridership down 70-80 per cent over the last week and a half

‘It’s up to us: Recently-returned B.C. couple urges Canadians to take COVID-19 seriously

Garrett Kucher and Tory Apostoliuk make it home after almost a week of lockdown in Spain

‘Nothing concrete’: Tenants, landlords lack details after B.C. unveils COVID-19 rental aid

Single mom in Golden says she’s already going to the food bank after being laid off

Canada will make sure masks sent by China meet quality standards: Trudeau

Chinese Embassy tweeted that China was sending 30,000 medical masks along with gowns, gloves and goggles

B.C. issues guidelines about distancing, reusable bags to grocery stores amid COVID-19

Hand sanitizer and markers to keep lines two metres are apart are needed, province says

Most Read