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

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Health officials are restricting visitor access to facilities in Chilliwack and Hope

Access rules for CGH and RCH, long-term care homes, and assisted living facilities have changed

UPDATE: Missing Chilliwack teen found, safe and sound

RCMP ‘pleased to confirm’ teen has been located

COVID-19 case diagnosed at Abbotsford rehabilitation residence

First Abbotsford care home to have confirmed COVID-19 case

Fraser Valley’s tulips fields off limits to visitors due to COVID-19

Abbotsford and Chilliwack tulip farmers have announced their festival season won’t go ahead

VIDEO: ‘Used gloves and masks go in the garbage,’ says irked B.C. mayor

Health officials have said single-use gloves won’t do much to curb the spread of COVID-19

53 new COVID-19 cases in B.C., four new deaths

B.C. has 498 active confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus

Vancouver man, 21, charged after mother found dead in Squamish home

Ryan Grantham, 21, has been charged with second-degree murder

Don’t stop going to the doctor, just do it virtually: B.C. association

Doctors encourage patients to access telephone, online visits

Surrey MLA Jinny Sims cleared of criminal wrongdoing

She resigned her cabinet post during RCMP investigation

BREAKING: COVID-19 case diagnosed at Abbotsford rehabilitation residence

First Abbotsford care home to have confirmed COVID-19 case

Businesses advised to prepare for federal, B.C. COVID-19 assistance

Canada Revenue Agency portal expected to open next week

Dogs are property, not kids, B.C. judge tells former couple

Court decision made on competing lawsuits over Zeus and Aurora — a pit bull and pit bull cross

Most Read