Downtown pipeline protest draws small crowd

Locals protest B.C. RCMP action

Protesters storm a building where Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was scheduled to address a forum bringing together federal officials and representatives from self-governing First Nations that have "modern" treaties with the Crown in Ottawa on January 8, 2019.

A pair of camps, built by clans in the First Nation, have popped up since the injuction was granted, showing their opposition to the planned project.

Meanwhile, a different kind of protest was held in Regina, where oil and gas industry workers who are facing the prospect of layoffs want to see more pipelines proceed.

"We're here because obviously consent matters", said Michelle Robinson, co-organizer of the event, which was held in conjunction with nearly 60 other rallies across Canada.

Video posted to Facebook shows RCMP officers climbing over a barricade and scuffling with demonstrators, all in the name of enforcing an injunction allowing access to Coastal GasLink work crews.

"Unist'ot'en has been holding that responsibility all by themselves, so the (Gidimt'en) chief decided it was time for all of us to physically show our support".

TransCanada subsidiary Coastal GasLink obtained an injunction ordering removal of obstructions in area as preliminary work gets underway on a pipeline carrying natural gas from northeastern Kitimat.

Jennifer Wickham, a member of the Gidimt'en clan of the Wet'suwet'en First Nation, said on Sunday that police have gathered in Smithers and Houston, B.C., which are the closest towns to the Gidimt'en checkpoint.

The Mounties had also announced one day before those arrests that they were setting up an "exclusion zone" to keep members of the public and the media away from two camps that they were going to raid and dismantle, including the Gitdumt'en checkpoint.

O'Neill also lamented how the vital question of who has authority over large swathes of northern being fought over, 22 years after the landmark Delgamuukw v British Columbia case at the Supreme Court of Canada.

Speakers have also said they won't tolerate the pushing-through of the natural gas pipeline, that is supposed to go straight through the community on its way to the coast.

While the Wet'suwet'en First Nation's elected leadership signed a benefits agreement in support of Coastal GasLink, the project is unanimously opposed by its hereditary chiefs, who exert jurisdiction over the nation's vast swath of traditional territory.

In the context of climate change, May said continuing to develop fossil fuels in Canada was not in the nation's economic interest.

In an open letter issued Tuesday, Coastal GasLink president Rick Gateman said the company took legal action as a last resort and while it respects the rights of people to peacefully express their points of view, safety is a key concern.

According to the B.C. government, the Wet'suwet'en First Nation (formerly known as Broman Lake) has a population of 256 and is between Burns Lake and Houston.

"My people are hurting, it makes me hurt". "It is going to have repercussions on reconciliation and implications for political integrity".

In Vancouver, protesters marched from the provincial courthouse on Hornby Street to Victory Square on West Hastings, in support of the Wet'suwet'en First Nation.

Police kept the prime minister and Indigenous Services Minister Jane Philpott, Crown-Indigenous Relations Minister Carolyn Bennett and Environment Minister Catherine McKenna out of a Sussex Drive building in Ottawa where Trudeau was to address a forum bringing together federal officials and representatives from self-governing First Nations that have modern treaties with the Crown.

People in the crowd hoisted signs reading "water is life" and "Reconciliation means nothing if the behaviour doesn't change".

"I am exhausted of the lies".

"We're very concerned", Tait says.

One man at the North Bay protest told CTV Northern Ontario demonstrators want "peace and dialogue" and want politicians to demand that the RCMP "not move in and forcibly remove sovereign people from their own land".

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