Hundreds in Toronto protest forced removal of Indigenous people for pipeline project
Advocates for the embattled Wet'suwet'en people are gathered in full force at Nathan Phillips Square today to express support for the First Nation's fight to keep natural gas pipelines out of their traditional territory.
Indigenous community & allies have gathered at Nathan Phillips Square to protest the the armed raids by RCMP on #UnistotenCamp Indigenous lands. These are part of coordinated actions across the country in solidarity with #Wetsuweten. No press allowed to cover live yesterday in BC pic.twitter.com/703zlg7nml— Kevin Taghabon (@KevinTaghabon) January 8, 2019
Police officers arrested 14 people on Monday afternoon at a checkpoint Indigenous leaders had set up to protect their unceded lands from pipeline construction.
Is this a normal way to respond to Indigenous people who are peacefully protecting their drinking water from fracking pipelines? @JustinTrudeau @jjhorgan is this the reconciliation you have talking about? #WETSUWETENSTRONG #NOPIPELINES pic.twitter.com/4z4JUAKp50— Michael Toledano (@M_Tol) January 8, 2019
Many following the story were shocked to see Canada's national police force destroying homemade barriers and removing the protesters from their own land, especially given the UN's declaration that "Indigenous peoples shall not be forcibly removed from their land or territories."
Canada, are you watching?— Jesse Wente (@jessewente) January 7, 2019
Is this the reconciliation you want? Is this the nation to nation relationship you speak of? Is this the Canada you want?
Canada, are you watching?#unistoten #Wetsuwetenstrong https://t.co/4LMH4dor2P
The RCMP officers were enforcing a Dec. 14 court injunction giving Coastal GasLink access to a road leading through the Wet'suwet'en territory in order to build a new $6.2-billion pipeline.
Good turnout at Nathan Phillips Square this grey lunch hour.— Ⓜⓘⓚⓔ @BaysideBadger (@BaysideBadger) January 8, 2019
Toronto stands in solidarity with Wet’suwet’en Nation! Respecting rule of law begins by respecting Indigenous claims to unceded ancestral lands. #Blockade pic.twitter.com/6Xjcs45SVX
Chiefs have been firm in their support for Unist'ot'en, who started campaigning against pipelines back in 2007 and have been blocking juggernauts like Trans-Canada, Enbridge and Pacific Trails ever since.
The Indigenous youth led rally has begun at Nathan Phillips Square in Toronto as part of the international solidarity actions with Wet’suwet’en. #wetsuwetenstrong #undrip— Chiefs of Ontario (@ChiefsofOntario) January 8, 2019
More information here: https://t.co/0Tym8ABK1U pic.twitter.com/o340LeFpSv
"The proposed pipelines are a threat to the watershed, as well as the plants, animals and communities that depend on them," reads the Unist'ot'en camp's website.
"The Unist'ot'en are fighting for the future health of the land. They are protecting the traditional hunting, trapping, and fishing territories to ensure that the natural beauty and bounty of the earth will be enjoyed for generations to come."
Those who were arrested yesterday for violating the injunction order were taken to police stations as far as four hours away for processing and then released, according to APTN.
"I'm proud to have been arrested," said 72-year-old Carmen Nikal to the television network. "The only thing I could do was try to block the path between the bus and the bridge. I'm not a big person but I was big enough to stand and they had asked me to move and I said 'No I'm not moving’ and he said, 'Well, we can arrest you,'."
Extraordinarily powerful moment at the solidarity action happening now at Nathan Phillips Square in Toronto in solidarity with @UnistotenCamp & Wetsuweten #Wetsuwetenstrong #Unistoten #thetimeisnow #wetsuweten #nopipelines pic.twitter.com/8GAzQ7DCZo— OPIRG Toronto (@OPIRGToronto) January 8, 2019
Clashes are expected to continue as Wet'suwet'en leaders vow to continue protecting their land.
As of 2 p.m. in Toronto, protesters had walked from City Hall over to the busy intersection of King and University for more anti-pipeline demonstrations.
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