UPDATE: RCMP allay fears of ‘full-scale’ action at northern B.C. anti-pipeline camp

Protesters are seeking to stop the Coastal GasLink pipeline

RCMP say they are hoping for the peaceful enforcement of a court order calling for an Indigenous anti-pipeline protest camp to stop blocking pipeline construction in northern B.C.

The statement comes after protest organizers had said on social media that they feared a ‘full-scale’ RCMP invasion of the camp.

Dozens of Indigenous peoples and supporters have been gathered at a key access point on Gidimt’en territory for months as they seek to stop the Coastal GasLink pipeline from going through their lands.

The anti-pipeline camp is set up at the Wet’suwet’en Access Point on Gidimt’en lands to protest the pipeline, south of Smithers and west of Houston.

The proposed 670 kilometre pipeline is expected to move natural gas from Dawson Creek to the newly-approved LNG Canada export facility near Kitimat.

VIDEO: Horgan, Trudeau speak on $40B LNG Canada investment in Kitimat

In December, a B.C. Supreme Court judge granted the extension of an interim injunction against two First Nations camps that have been blocking the access to a LNG construction site in the northwestern B.C. community of Houston for several weeks.

According to Cpl. Madonna Saunderson, police are in charge of enforcing the injunction but it is up to “RCMP discretion to decide how and when to enforce the injunction.”

“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,” Saunderson said in a statement.

The injunction was originally granted to Coastal GasLink on Dec. 14 against the Unist’ot’en camp, another protest camp that describes its efforts as a re-occupation of Wet’suwet’en land.

The Gidimt’en camp is set up near the Morice River bridge and blocks access to pre-construction works for the Coastal GasLink pipeline.

Saunderson said police are “very hopeful that there will not be violence or disorder” as they enforce the injunction but that the safety of police officers and the public is “paramount.”

“Our priority has been a commitment to open dialogue and our members have engaged with those leaders and Indigenous communities directly connected with the Unist’ot’en camp,” Saunderson said in a statement.

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.

READ MORE: Protesters opposing LNG Canada drop banners inside B.C. legislature

But Indigenous protesters say they were not consulted about the project, and are just trying to protect Wet’suwet’en traditional territory.

The Gidimt’en are one of five clans that make up the Wet’suwet’en, who were the winners in a landmark Supreme Court of Canada decision that asserted the First Nation’s land rights and titles had never been extinguished.

On a Facebook page dedicated to the Wet’suwet’en Access Point, organizers said Sunday they’ve received “numerous credible tips” about a “massive police buildup in Wet’suwet’en territories.”

“We face the real and imminent threat of forcible removal from our own homelands,” the post reads.

Saunderson said there was “less than half a dozen” officers in the Smithers area currently, but said the public “may notice an increase in [police] resources” near the protest camps in the coming weeks.

READ MORE: Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs say no to approved LNG pipeline

An international day of protest is planned for Jan. 8, with B.C. rallies scheduled at the Supreme Court buildings in Vancouver and at the B.C. Legislature in Victoria.


@katslepian

katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Surrendered Comox Valley cats nearing adoption through SPCA

Community rallies with dozens of offers of adoption

Shawnigan Lake residents rally to rebuild memorial bus shelter

Nick’s Stop is a reminder for all to slow down

Purple Day marks long journey for Gorge resident

Legislative Assembly to recognize epilepsy on Tuesday

Ice climbers scale Canada’s tallest waterfall on Vancouver Island

Ice climbers Chris Jensen, Will Gadd and Peter Hoang made history

Tofino woman beseeches town for nude beach

“They may enjoy a surf and then walk around naked and just be free.”

Prime Minister Trudeau comes campaigning in Nanaimo

A day after announcing a May 6 byelection date for Nanaimo-Ladysmith, Justin Trudeau visits city

Inspirational Vancouver Island youngster dies after battle with brain cancer

Kaiden Finley ‘was seriously the strongest 11-year-old’

Indecent caller handed 18-month conditional sentence

Vancouver Island man pleaded guilty to making indecent phone and video calls to women across B.C.

Is it a homicide? B.C. woman dies in hospital, seven months after being shot

Stepfather think Chilliwack case should now be a homicide, but IHIT has not confirmed anything

Victoria Police Department’s K9s help make three arrests

Police Services Dogs Alpha and Zender have had a busy few weeks

Victoria crash threatens shipyard’s schedule for new coast guard ships

Delivery of the vessel was already years overdue

First Nations public art piece stolen in Nanaimo

Spindle Whorl went missing over the weekend, according to Nanaimo RCMP

Flu outbreak hits several facilities from Victoria to Parksville

42 people diagnosed at facility since March 15

Sources say Trudeau rejected Wilson-Raybould’s conservative pick for high court

Wilson-Raybould said Monday “there was no conflict between the PM and myself”

Most Read