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Gidimt’en Clan Warns of RCMP Attack on
The RCMP is planning ‘an act of war’ to remove Indigenous protesters from blocking construction of a natural gas pipeline in northwestern BC, the Gidimt’en clan Facebook page informed on January 5.
The clan has been maintaining a checkpoint keeping Coastal GasLink, a subsidiary of TransCanada Corp., off traditional Wet’suwet’en Nation territory south of Houston. The RCMP informed that specially trained tactical forces will be deployed to forcibly remove Wet’suwet’en people from sovereign Wet’suwet’en territory, the post said.
The Gidimt’en post said they met Friday, January 4 with members of the RCMP Aboriginal Police Liaison Unit and learned action to enforce a court injunction is imminent. “Police refused to provide any details of their operation including the number of officers moving in, the method of forcible removal, or the timing of deployment,” the Gidimt’en said.
“By rejecting the requests for information the RCMP indicated that they intend to surprise and overwhelm the Wet’suwet’en people who are protecting their territories on the ground,” the post added.
“The RCMP’s ultimatum, to allow TransCanada access to unceded Wet’suwet’en territory or face police invasion, is an act of war.”
The checkpoint is 20 kilometres from the Unist’ot’en Camp established 10 years ago along the route of three proposed pipelines, including the one Coastal Gaslink is building, in an effort to stop them. It has since become a land-based wellness centre on the shores of the Morice River, close to the pipeline route. The pipeline will carry fractured natural gas 647 kilometres from Dawson Creek to coastal Kitimat where it will be processed and shipped.
Camp members have refused to allow Coastal GasLink employees to cross the Morice River bridge. They have the support of five hereditary chiefs in rejecting fossil fuel development.
The company, which has claimed in the past that it only wants access to its construction camp and is not asking for the camp to be cleared, turned to the courts and won an interim injunction on December 14 giving it access to the bridge across the Morice River and one kilometre down the road from the camp where the pipeline will run. BC Supreme Court Justice Marguerite Church agreed work should not be delayed further on the $40-billion construction project.
The injunction gives the RCMP the power to back up the court order.