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

An injunction gave protesters 72 hours to remove obstructions and the police say that had not happened

RCMP say they arrested 14 people from a blockade to a forest service road in northern British Columbia that is preventing access to a pipeline project.

Mounties say the arrests took place at the Gitdumt’en checkpoint on Morice West Forest Service Road for various offences, including alleged violations of an injunction order against the blockade.

They allege officers saw a number of fires being lit along the roadway.

Members of the Gidimt’en clan of the Wet’suwet’en First Nation had set up a camp and a checkpoint in the area, southwest of Houston, which they said was to control access.

In a statement, RCMP say officers spoke with representatives of the camp about the removal of a road block along the roadway, and set up a meeting between hereditary chiefs and Coastal GasLink.

READ MORE: RCMP start to clear Indigenous pipeline protest camps

But police say at about 3 p.m., they realized the matter couldn’t be resolved and they took action.

The statement says a temporary exclusion zone has been set up in the area where the police do not allow access to anyone who is not part of the enforcement team.

The RCMP says the zone remains in place and will be consistently re-assessed.

The statement also addressed what police called “erroneous” reports that RCMP jammed communications in the area, and that the military was present during the police enforcement operation.

“We would like to clarify that both of these allegations are incorrect,” the statement says. “The area is extremely remote and even police had limited access to communication.”

Mounties said earlier Monday they would enforce the interim injunction issued by the B.C. Supreme Court in mid-December. The court ordered the removal of any obstructions interfering with the Coastal GasLink project.

The injunction gave protesters 72 hours to remove obstructions and the police say that had not happened, preventing Coastal Gaslink Pipeline Ltd. from being able to do any work in the area.

The pipeline by TransCanada subsidiary Coastal GasLink would carry natural gas from the Dawson Creek area to Kitimat.

The company says it has signed agreements with all First Nations along the route for LNG Canada’s $40-billion liquefied natural gas project in Kitimat, but demonstrators argue Wet’suwet’en house chiefs, who are hereditary rather than elected, have not given consent.

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 provincial and federal governments must revoke the permits for this project until the standards of free, prior and informed consent are met,” Phillip says in the release.

LNG Canada announced in October that it was moving ahead with its plans for the Kitimat export facility.

Construction on the $6.2-billion pipeline, which is 670 kilometres long, is scheduled to begin this month.

B.C. Premier John Horgan said LNG Canada’s decision would help an economically deprived region of the province and bring in an estimated $23 billion in provincial revenue.

Around 2012, the Unist’ot’en camp set up a blockade by constructing a gate and other obstacles to the area, and a second gate was recently constructed at the Morice River Bridge, the company said in a document filed with the court.

TransCanada has said it is not asking for the camp at the bridge to be dismantled, only for access to its pipeline right of way.

Marches were planned across the country on Tuesday to support members of the Gidimt’en clan who oppose the pipeline project.

The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

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

Just Posted

MP Vis advocates for faster internet in rural communities

Less than 45 per cent of rural households in Canada have high-speed internet

Peace on the water

Harrison Lake was rather serene recently with the lack of usual traffic… Continue reading

UPDATE: Police oversight agency investigating after shots fired Saturday night in Chilliwack neighbourhood

RCMP reported a ‘distraught male’ fired at police officers on Christina Drive – IIO is on scene Sunday

Prospera Credit Union, Westminster Savings lay off over 100 staff following historic merge

2020 merger was largest credit-union merger in Canadian history

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world in ways that would have… Continue reading

Kelowna man charged with harming a hamster

The 20-year-old Kelowna man faces several animal cruelty charges

High tech fish transport system set up to ‘whoosh’ salmon past Big Bar landslide

Fish will spend roughly 20 seconds inside the system, moving at roughly 20 metres per second

Trudeau to seek 10 days of paid sick leave for Canadian workers, says talks are ongoing

Paid sick leave is key to keeping COVID-19 spread under control, prime minister says

Snowbirds jets will not be leaving Kamloops, just yet

The Snowbirds have been in Kamloops since May 17 when a plane crashed killing Capt. Jennifer Casey

COVID-19 checkpoints ‘up to them,’ Bonnie Henry says of remote B.C. villages

Support local tourism economy, but only if you’re invited in

Vancouver Island hasn’t seen a new homegrown case of COVID-19 in two weeks

Island’s low and steady transmission rate chalked up to several factors

Eight people arrested in Victoria homeless camp after enforcement order issued

Those living in tents were given until May 20 to move indoors

Most Read