UPDATE: RCMP allay fears of ‘full-scale’ action at northern B.C. anti-pipeline camp

Protesters are seeking to stop the Coastal GasLink pipeline

RCMP say they are hoping for the peaceful enforcement of a court order calling for an Indigenous anti-pipeline protest camp to stop blocking pipeline construction in northern B.C.

The statement comes after protest organizers had said on social media that they feared a ‘full-scale’ RCMP invasion of the camp.

Dozens of Indigenous peoples and supporters have been gathered at a key access point on Gidimt’en territory for months as they seek to stop the Coastal GasLink pipeline from going through their lands.

The anti-pipeline camp is set up at the Wet’suwet’en Access Point on Gidimt’en lands to protest the pipeline, south of Smithers and west of Houston.

The proposed 670 kilometre pipeline is expected to move natural gas from Dawson Creek to the newly-approved LNG Canada export facility near Kitimat.

VIDEO: Horgan, Trudeau speak on $40B LNG Canada investment in Kitimat

In December, a B.C. Supreme Court judge granted the extension of an interim injunction against two First Nations camps that have been blocking the access to a LNG construction site in the northwestern B.C. community of Houston for several weeks.

According to Cpl. Madonna Saunderson, police are in charge of enforcing the injunction but it is up to “RCMP discretion to decide how and when to enforce the injunction.”

“The primary concerns of the police are public safety, police officer safety, and preservation of the right to peaceful, lawful and safe protest, within the terms set by the Supreme Court in the injunction,” Saunderson said in a statement.

The injunction was originally granted to Coastal GasLink on Dec. 14 against the Unist’ot’en camp, another protest camp that describes its efforts as a re-occupation of Wet’suwet’en land.

The Gidimt’en camp is set up near the Morice River bridge and blocks access to pre-construction works for the Coastal GasLink pipeline.

Saunderson said police are “very hopeful that there will not be violence or disorder” as they enforce the injunction but that the safety of police officers and the public is “paramount.”

“Our priority has been a commitment to open dialogue and our members have engaged with those leaders and Indigenous communities directly connected with the Unist’ot’en camp,” Saunderson said in a statement.

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.

READ MORE: Protesters opposing LNG Canada drop banners inside B.C. legislature

But Indigenous protesters say they were not consulted about the project, and are just trying to protect Wet’suwet’en traditional territory.

The Gidimt’en are one of five clans that make up the Wet’suwet’en, who were the winners in a landmark Supreme Court of Canada decision that asserted the First Nation’s land rights and titles had never been extinguished.

On a Facebook page dedicated to the Wet’suwet’en Access Point, organizers said Sunday they’ve received “numerous credible tips” about a “massive police buildup in Wet’suwet’en territories.”

“We face the real and imminent threat of forcible removal from our own homelands,” the post reads.

Saunderson said there was “less than half a dozen” officers in the Smithers area currently, but said the public “may notice an increase in [police] resources” near the protest camps in the coming weeks.

READ MORE: Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs say no to approved LNG pipeline

An international day of protest is planned for Jan. 8, with B.C. rallies scheduled at the Supreme Court buildings in Vancouver and at the B.C. Legislature in Victoria.


@katslepian

katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Preparations being made for multi-million dollar upgrade to Ladysmith Machine Shop

The machine shop will undergo upgrades to ensure it remains operational and publicly accessible

LRCA Concerts in the Park series presents: The Glen Foster Group

Glen Foster Group returns to Transfer Beach for their third Concerts in the Park show, July 28

Ladysmith youth competes at BC Junior Development Track and Field Championship

Nolan Smith is the only Ladysmith member of his track and field club

Tribal Journeys welcomed by Stz’uminus at Shell Beach

Paddlers came from various nations, including the Heiltsuk, Namgis, Hesquiaht, and Alberta Cree

Brits on the Beach raises $2,251 for LRCA food bank

Brits on the Beach also brought in 75 pounds of non-perishable food items

VIDEO: Missing teens named as suspects in three northern B.C. killings

Kam McLeod and Bryer Schmegelsky are wanted in the deaths of Lucas Fowler, Chynna Deese, unknown man

Provincial health body refuses to release full findings of cancer triage system audit

Information and Privacy Commissioner asked to review redactions

Southern resident killer whale died of blunt trauma, likely from ship

J34 was found more than two years ago near Sechelt, but the necropsy findings have now been released

Tourism Nanaimo invites celebrities to sample ‘real’ Nanaimo bars

Tourism organization creates video, invites actors Seth Rogen and Dan Levy to visit

B.C. rail crossing death highlights risks for people in wheelchairs: watchdog

Transportation Safety Board points to ‘persistent risks faced by persons using assistive devices’

B.C. teens wanted in double homicide, suspicious death spotted in Manitoba

Kam McLeod and Bryer Schmegelsky were thought to have been seen in the Gillam area

Vancouver Island man wanted after walking away from halfway house in Victoria

Warrant issued for Jesse Goodale, convicted of aggravated assault

Memorial bench painted by Vancouver woman to stay in park for now

Park board to look at options for artistic enhancements on commemorative benches

VIDEO: Man found dead near B.C. teens’ truck could be linked to a double homicide

RCMP said they are looking for Kam McLeod, 19, and Bryer Schmegelsky, 18, of Port Alberni

Most Read