Hundreds of people blocked traffic in downtown Victoria Tuesday to stand in solidarity with Unist’ot’en and Gitdumt’en First Nations during an international Day of Action.
The protest, one of more than 55 planned nationally and internationally, come after RCMP descended on Wet’suwet’en traditional lands to enforce an interim injunction granted in December by a B.C. Supreme Court judge. The court injunction was to remove two First Nations camps that have been blocking access to a LNG construction site in northwestern B.C. for several weeks.
The RCMP officers arrested 14 people Monday night at the Gitdumt’en camp on Morice West Forest Service Road, including Gitdumden spokesperson Molly Wickham, one elder, who was released, and 13 supporters who appear in court in Prince George today.
TransCanada, the builders of the Coastal GasLink pipeline, announced in September that all 20 First Nations groups along the length of the pipeline route have now signed a project agreement; however, a news release issued Sunday on behalf of Grand Chief Stewart Phillip of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs says all five Wet’suwet’en clans, including the Gidimt’en, oppose the construction of oil and gas pipelines in their territory.
Skeena-Bulkley Valley MP Nathan Cullen has called on the federal government to demonstrate its commitment to reconciliation by engaging with the Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs.
“The Wet’suwet’en chiefs have maintained their use and occupancy of their lands and hereditary governance system to this date despite generations of legislative policies that aim to remove us from this land, assimilate our people, and ban our governing system. The hereditary chiefs of the Wet’suwet’en and the land defenders holding the front lines will never allow Wet’suwet’en sovereignty to be violated,” states a release from the Wet’suwet’en Access Point on Gitdumden territory.
Crowd in Victoria, B.C. chants in unison that they stand with Unist'ot'en and Gidimt'en during Day of Action for Unist'ot'en and Gidimt'en. #bcpoli #cdnpoli @UnistotenCamp @VictoriaNews pic.twitter.com/byyoWGyRUz
— Keri Coles (@KeriColesPhotog) January 8, 2019
In a release from organizers, they say the rally is to denounce state violence on unceded territory.