Hundreds of people came to the B.C. legislature Tuesday to stand in solidarity with Unist’ot’en and Gitdumt’en First Nations during an international Day of Action. (Keri Coles/News staff)

Hundreds rally in Victoria for Wet’suwet’en pipeline protesters

RCMP arrested 14 people on Jan. 7 in northern B.C.

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, comes 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 one elder – who was released – Gitdumden spokesperson Molly Wickham and 13 supporters who appear in court in Prince George today.

The rally began at the B.C. legislature, where the crowd took over the front steps chanting “We stand with Unist’ot’en.” Sonia Furstenau, MLA for Cowichan Valley, and Adam Olsen, MLA for Saanich North and the Islands, both spoke in support of the rally, condemning the arrests.

The crowd then took to the streets and walked up to the office of Carole James, MLA for the Victoria-Beacon Hill, where they stopped for speeches and song.

In a release from organizers, they say the rally is to denounce state violence on unceded territory.

RELATED: Rallies against B.C. LNG pipeline planned across Canada, U.S.

In a statement sent out after the rally, MP for Victoria Murray Rankin expressed serious concerns regarding the Wet’suwet’sen blockade.

“The federal NDP is calling on Prime Minister Trudeau to engage immediately with the Wet’suwet’sen and demonstrate his commitment to real and meaningful reconciliation,” said Rankin. “If Prime Minister Trudeau is serious about his commitments to Indigenous Peoples, he needs to help facilitate a peaceful resolution that respects the rights of the Wet’suwet’en First Nation.”

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.

“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.

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.

READ MORE: RCMP arrest 14 people in northern B.C. over anti-LNG pipeline protest



keri.coles@blackpress.ca

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Hundreds of people came to the B.C. legislature Tuesday to stand in solidarity with Unist’ot’en and Gitdumt’en First Nations during an international Day of Action. (Keri Coles/News staff)

Hundreds of people came to the B.C. legislature Tuesday to stand in solidarity with Unist’ot’en and Gitdumt’en First Nations during an international Day of Action. (Keri Coles/News staff)

Hundreds of people came to the B.C. legislature Tuesday to stand in solidarity with Unist’ot’en and Gitdumt’en First Nations during an international Day of Action. (Keri Coles/News staff)

Hundreds of people came to the B.C. legislature Tuesday to stand in solidarity with Unist’ot’en and Gitdumt’en First Nations during an international Day of Action. (Keri Coles/News staff)

Hundreds of people came to the B.C. legislature Tuesday to stand in solidarity with Unist’ot’en and Gitdumt’en First Nations during an international Day of Action. (Keri Coles/News staff)

Hundreds of people came to the B.C. legislature Tuesday to stand in solidarity with Unist’ot’en and Gitdumt’en First Nations during an international Day of Action. (Keri Coles/News staff)

Hundreds of people came to the B.C. legislature Tuesday to stand in solidarity with Unist’ot’en and Gitdumt’en First Nations during an international Day of Action. (Keri Coles/News staff)

Hundreds of people came to the B.C. legislature Tuesday to stand in solidarity with Unist’ot’en and Gitdumt’en First Nations during an international Day of Action. (Keri Coles/News staff)

Hundreds of people came to the B.C. legislature Tuesday to stand in solidarity with Unist’ot’en and Gitdumt’en First Nations during an international Day of Action. (Keri Coles/News staff)

Hundreds of people blocked traffic in downtown Victoria Tuesday Jan. 8 to stand in solidarity with Unist’ot’en and Gitdumt’en First Nations during an international Day of Action. (Keri Coles/News staff)

Hundreds of people stood outside the office of Carole James, MLA for the Victoria-Beacon Hill, Tuesday to stand in solidarity with Unist’ot’en and Gitdumt’en First Nations during an international Day of Action. (Keri Coles/News staff)

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