Wetsuweten pipeline protest

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.

It's just one of many coordinated actions taking place across the country right now in response to yesterday's armed RCMP raids of the Unist'ot'en camp in B.C.

Police officers arrested 14 people on Monday afternoon at a checkpoint Indigenous leaders had set up to protect their unceded lands from pipeline construction.

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."

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.

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 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,'."

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.

Lead photo by

OPIRG Toronto


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