Camp Wet’suwet’en chief and reporters arrested as RCMP enforce pipeline injunction in northern British Columbia

Fifteen others, including a key leader in the fight against the Coastal GasLink pipeline as well as two journalists, were arrested on Friday as police action continued against opponents of the project being built west of Prince George, British Columbia.

RCMP broke down the door of a resistance camp, known as Camp Coyote, which has occupied a key work site for Coastal GasLink since September 25, and arrested several occupants, including two who police said , identified themselves as journalists.

Camp halted Coastal GasLink’s plans to drill a tunnel for their gas pipeline under the Wedzin Kwa River

Police said upon arriving at the camp on Friday they read a copy of a British Columbia Supreme Court injunction notice allowing construction of the pipeline to proceed and warned people inside to leave several times, before entering by force and carrying out arrests.

So far, a total of 29 people have been arrested for violating the BC Supreme Court injunction in a multi-day RCMP operation which police say has also involved the removal of felled trees and the overturning of equipment to create forest service roads to support pipeline construction. fair.

Jennifer Wickham, media coordinator for the Gidimt’en checkpoint, said her sister Sleydo ‘- also known as Molly Wickham – was among those arrested on Friday.

Sleydo ‘has been a key voice in the opposition and organization against the pipeline.

The Canadian Association of Journalists (ACJ) said those arrested on Friday also included photojournalist Amber Bracken, who was on assignment for The Narwhal newspaper, and documentary filmmaker Michael Toledano.

In a statement, the CAJ said it was “deeply concerned” about the arrests and would like more information. The Narwhal, in a statement of its own, said he was “extremely disturbed” by the arrest and said Bracken was carrying an official letter of assignment with her.

Last dead end on the pipeline

On November 18, 14 people were arrested as RCMP dismantled roadblocks along the Morice River Forest Service Road that led to two labor camps.

The lockdowns have stranded around 500 Coastal GasLink employees, sparking water rations and fears of food shortages, after the company refused to comply with an eviction notice issued by the Gidimt’en checkpoint , which controls access to part of the Wet’suwet’en territory.

Police said of the 14 people arrested on Nov. 18, one has been released without charge, eight have been released on conditions and five are being transported to Prince George for a court appearance on Monday.

WATCH | The renewed deadlock of the Wet’suwet’en pipeline leads to arrests:

Wet’suwet’en pipeline renewal leads to arrests

Several people were arrested at an illegal barricade erected by Wet’suwet’en members and hereditary chiefs who oppose the Coastal Gas Link pipeline, despite the support of elected First Nation chiefs. 2:06

Sleydo ‘said last month that Gidimt’en members are now taking a stand to protect the Wedzin Kwa. “It is our sacred spring, our drinking water and our salmon spawning river,” she said.

In 2020, the application of a British Columbia Supreme Court injunction led to demonstrations of solidarity across Canada, including the closure of railways in eastern Ontario.

Members of the Gidimt’en clan called on their supporters to repeat history and shut down key infrastructure, like highways and railroads.

In response, rallies of support were held in communities across the country on Friday, including Victoria, Toronto and Caledonia, Ont., Where the Highway 6 bypass was closed.

“The Wet’suwet’en people defended the yintah [territory] for thousands of years and it will never stop, ”Wickham said.

Coastal GasLink signed agreements with 20 elected First Nations band councils along the pipeline route, including Wet’suwet’en territory, but failed to gain approval from the majority of hereditary chiefs.

The elected council of the Wet’suwet’en First Nation issued a statement on Wednesday condemning the pipeline’s continued resistance.

In an online statement released on Friday, Coastal GasLink confirmed supplies had reached the two worker camps that were previously cut. The company called the RCMP’s actions “unfortunate” but necessary to restore access to bring supplies, including food and water, to their employees and contractors.

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