No. 66November 23, 2021
Actions are continuing across Canada as people from all walks of life and backgrounds, especially youth, are joining with Indigenous peoples to oppose the racist violence of the Canadian colonial state and the RCMP against Wet’suwet’en people defending the lands and waters of their territory.
The Wet’suwet’en have been defending their pristine lands and waters, the very source of their life and well-being for all of B.C., for over a decade against destruction by the energy monopolies. This includes the construction of the 670-kilometre Coastal GasLink pipeline, owned by TC Energy, to transport fracked natural gas from northeastern BC to the LNG Canada facility in Kitimat.
The Wet’suwet’en Hereditary Chiefs have never given their consent to this pipeline crossing their territory. They have upheld their ancient governance system and Wet’suwet’en customary law, Anuc’nu’at’en, against CGL’s wanton destruction of their hunting and foraging areas, historical trails and sacred burial and other sites central to their material, spiritual and cultural well-being.
Canada and its courts have no jurisdiction on Wet’suwet’en territory. This includes the BC Supreme Court injunction of December 31, 2019 served on behalf of CGL. The Gidimt’en Checkpoint recently reiterated that “the 1997 Supreme Court of Canada Delgamuukw-Gisdaywa ruling clearly affirmed that Aboriginal title — the right to exclusively use and occupy land — has never been extinguished across 55,000 square kilometres of Wet’suwet’en and Gitxsan territories.”
Accordingly, the Wet’suwet’en Hereditary Chiefs responded the BC Supreme Court injunction with an eviction notice in January 2020 demanding an end to all work on the pipeline. To enforce the eviction notice, access to the territory by CGL was blocked on November 14 after CGL had been given ten hours’ notice to leave the territory.
Heavily armed RCMP carried out raids on Wet’suwet’en territory on November 18 and 19: on November 18 at the Gidimt’en Checkpoint where access to the territory was blocked, and on November 19 at the Coyote Camp set up to prevent drilling under the Wedzin Kwa, the river on which the territory depends.
It is high time that Canada and the provinces stop permitting the use of the courts to pass injunctions which are then said to be legal but condone criminal practices on behalf of the monopolies and private interests. Then the full force of the law is used to enforce those injunctions while the people are criminalized and their right to speak and act is trampled underfoot. This happens to the workers as well, all the time. Matters which should be sorted out through negotiations are made police matters and even militarized as is happening once again in BC The fact that the Wet’suwet’en lands are distant makes the court-sanctioned actions of the RCMP even more contemptible. The silence of government officials and political parties with seats in parliaments and legislatures is deafening.
As the 44th Parliament of Canada gets underway in Ottawa, what the government of Canada is endorsing in the name of law in B.C. against the Wet’suwet’en is a matter of real concern. For more than 150 years Canada has been using its colonial constitution, the very constitution which authorized the commission of genocide against the Indigenous peoples, to claim that its expropriation of Indigenous lands is legal. When what is legal is not just, a real problem faces the polity.
The Marxist-Leninist Party of Canada (MLPC) calls on working people across the country to speak out now. The government is out of control and everything indicates that it will use this session of Parliament to engage in more of the same. The time to act is now! Support the Wet’suwet’en! RCMP Out!
– Pauline Easton –
The RCMP falsely characterized their raid on the Wet’suwet’en four days after the fact as a “rescue mission” to protect the workers. What a farce! It is the Wet’suwet’en Hereditary Chiefs who are upholding the law and who have shown concern for the workers. Hereditary Dinï’ ze’ (Chief) Woos expressed regret that workers are stuck in the camps behind the blockades. He stated, “I want to mention to our local non-Wet’suwet’en members that we’re sorry you ended up in the middle of this … But I must say that we gave ample notice to [Coastal GasLink] that we were going to act on this.”
Workers were given eight hours to evacuate on November 14 and Chief Woos granted a two-hour extension for the estimated 500 individuals housed at Coastal GasLink’s two remote work camps. However, a post from the land defenders at Gidimt’en Camp noted: “Coastal GasLink did NOT inform their workers of the eight-hour peaceful evacuation window, ordered by the Wet’suwet’en … instead electing to use and endanger their own workers as pawns for the sake of corporate profits.”
Workers have also been on the receiving end of threats and violence at the hands of the police forces. Despite this, on November 18, prior to the raid, Chief Superintendent John Brewer, of the Community-Industry Response Group noted: “Our primary focus is on everyone’s safety, particularly the camp workers, who are nearing the end of their essential supplies. We were hoping that a solution would be reached without the need for police enforcement, however, it has become very clear to us that our discretionary period has come to an end and the RCMP must now enforce the orders given by the BC Supreme Court on December 31, 2019.” They said, “We are now mobilizing our resources for a rescue mission.”
On November 15, BC Minister of Public Safety Mike Farnworth had stated: “Blockades have now been established by project opponents in violation of the current court injunction. Obstructions on the roads have effectively cut off safe access, support and security for more than 500 workers. Our government is concerned about the health, safety and well-being of those workers as the obstructions on the roads prevent access in and out of the worksites. The right to protest does not extend to criminal actions.”
What cowards the BC NDP government have turned out to be. Why don’t they speak the truth that the courts are used to serve narrow private interests through the use of injunctions. Why don’t they speak the truth that injunctions are sanctioning what is illegal, which is then paraded as legal and used to arrest people, abuse elders and dishonour the matriarchs, who are traditional spokespeople, backed by the people’s peacekeepers. The BC government should apply the standard of what is legal to its own institutions, beginning with decisions of the cabinets, legislatures and courts, which rule above the people and not in their interests. The government of BC is duty-bound to recognize and honour the application of Wet’suwet’en law on their unceded territory. This is the bottom line.
All out to condemn RCMP interference and violence in the pathetic name of a rescue mission. Everyone knows that when Indigenous peoples and workers stand up for their rights, their just actions are turned into a matter of “law and order” and criminalized.
Drop All Charges, Now!
Get Off Wet’suwet’en Lands, Now!
While the attention of the people of BC was focussed on coping with the crises caused by flooding, evacuations and road closures, the RCMP carried out two raids on Wet’suwet’en land defenders on their territory.
The raids of November 18 and 19 were carried out by members of the RCMP’s Community-Industry Response Group, created in 2017 in BC “to provide strategic oversight addressing energy industry incidents and related public order, national security and crime issues.”
By November 19 there had been 32 arrests, 15 on November 18 at Gidimt’en Camp and 17 on November 19 at Coyote Camp. Those arrested included Gidimt’en spokesperson Sleydo’, the daughter of one of the Hereditary Chiefs, elders, supporters, three journalists and a legal observer. Since then solidarity actions have been taking place across the country.
Of those arrested, 22 people appeared at BC Supreme Court in Prince George on November 22. In a November 22 update prior to their court appearance, the Gidimt’en Checkpoint informed that:
“Those arrested are all facing charges of civil contempt for breaching the terms of a BC Supreme Court injunction granted to Coastal GasLink (CGL). CGL is seeking a number of conditions of release, including denying many arrestees access to a vast area of Wet’suwet’en territories. The proposed ‘exclusion zone’ is the whole Morice West Forest Service Road or any other areas accessed by the Morice Forest Service Road. Wet’suwet’en people (as determined by CGL) may be exempt from the exclusion zone for ‘cultural activities’ (as defined by the RCMP), while being subjected to ‘culture-free zones’ around CGL work sites.
“CGL is also asking Sleydo’ to provide documentation to ‘prove’ she is Wet’suwet’en, and is seeking conditions that would bar her from returning to her home on Wet’suwet’en Yintah where her, her husband Cody Merriman (Haida Nation, who was also arrested), and her three children live. CGL is also challenging Chief Woos’s daughter Jocelyn Alec’s status as a Wet’suwet’en person because she has Indian Act status with her mother’s First Nation. The Indian Act is patriarchal and does not determine identity or belonging to a community.
“According to Jen Wickham, media coordinator of Gidimt’en Checkpoint: ‘Coastal GasLink’s proposed conditions of release are punitive, unreasonable and, in targeting Sleydo’ and Jocelyn, completely racist and sexist. Allowing a private corporation to determine two Indigenous womens’ identities and allowing this corporation to deny our inherent rights to be Wet’suwet’en on our territory is a very dangerous precedent. This is the colonial gendered violence that is the root of the crisis of MMIWG2S. Even though Coastal GasLink is trying to intimidate us through the colonial court system, we are Wet’suwet’en Strong. Under the governance of our Hereditary Chiefs, there will be no pipeline on our Yintah.”
Cody Merriman of the Haida Nation agreed to conditions and was released November 22, solely so he could return to Wet’suwet’en territory to look after his and Sleydo’s children. Under Wet’suwet’en law, he is permitted access to his spouse’s territory to fulfill these duties.
The Gidimt’en Checkpoint released the following update after the first day in court:
“After a long day in court, 10 Land Defenders and supporters arrested on Gidimt’en territory, including Sleydo’ and Jocelyn, remain in custody in so-called Prince George.
“Court has been adjourned and will resume at 9 am tomorrow [November 23].
“Cody Merriman was released with conditions to reappear in court on February 14, and to not return to the RCMP/CGL ‘exclusion area’ except to travel through it to his residence. Faced with this colonial conditional release, the decision was made to sign in order to take care of his and Sleydo’s young children — and not in recognition of any wrong doing.
“Amber Bracken and Michael Toledano, members of the media, and seven other supporters were granted release under conditions to obey the injunction and reappear in court on February 14.”
Renewal Update calls on everyone to keep informed, join in actions when possible and write to your MPs opposing the use of law under phony pretexts. It brings Canada no honour whatsoever, no matter how you look at it.
Union of British Columbia Indian Chiefs, November 18
In blind defence of fossil fuel expansion, the RCMP began a publicly funded siege on peaceful land defenders in unceded Wet’suwet’en territory this morning, while BC is in the middle of a state of emergency due to a climate crisis that the entire world is watching. At least 15 supporters have already been arrested; dozens of RCMP have been reported breaching Gidimt’en checkpoint.
Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, President of the Union of BC Indian Chiefs (UBCIC) stated, “We are absolutely outraged that the Province of BC authorized a military-style raid on peaceful land defenders in order to allow Coastal GasLink (CGL) to build their Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) pipeline, while much of the Province is suffering from life-threatening, catastrophic flooding related events. The Province of BC continues to pretend that LNG can be clean energy and is a so-called transition fuel when we know that LNG production carries critical environmental and health risks and is a non-renewable source of energy that requires incredibly large amounts of our precious water. Prioritizing fossil fuel expansion while British Columbians grapple with a climate emergency is an alarming, criminal and incredibly poor decision by Premier Horgan and Mike Farnworth, Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General. We are calling on BC and Canada to recognize and uphold Indigenous Title and Rights, including the right to self-determination, and institute a moratorium on fossil fuel expansion in the wake of clear and present climate catastrophe.”
On November 14, members of the Gidimt’en clan enforced the eviction of CGL workers from their lands and gave them eight hours to peacefully evacuate before the main road into the Lhudis Bin territory of the Gidimt’en clan was closed. These Gidimt’en members are upholding ancient Wet’suwet’en trespass laws and an eviction notice served by the Wet’suwet’en Hereditary Chiefs to CGL in 2020. UBCIC does not support or condone violence of any form and remains deeply committed to the recognition and implementation of the Title and Rights of all Indigenous peoples in Canada. UBCIC hopes to see a peaceful resolution of conflict through open dialogue and the respecting of Wet’suwet’en authority and laws. We stand in solidarity with all Nations working together to ensure Canada and BC uphold the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and stop any violent or discriminatory practices against peaceful land defenders.
Haida Nation, November 20
In these times of climate crisis and implementation of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act, along with the commitments made at the UN Climate Change Conference (COP26), the governments’ actions against Indigenous Title and Rights and climate change are disappointing stumbling blocks on the path to reconciliation.
The Haida Nation condemns all acts of violence against Indigenous Peoples and ways of life. Indigenous Peoples have called for renewed relationships and equitable systems to address policy brutality, racism in the healthcare system, and dispossession of lands and resources.
It is time for Canada and BC to put words to action and honour Wet’suwet’en Title throughout the Yintah.
“We stand with our Wet’suwet’en relatives in exercising their inherent responsibility to protect their sacred headwaters. The use of a militarized police force against unarmed people and the suppression of communications and media are violations of human rights. The world is watching and it is shameful what is happening. Stay Wet’suwet’en Strong.” – Gaagwiis Jason Alsop, President of the Haida Nation
To our Wet’suwet’en relatives – the Haida Nation will rebuild with you and stand with you to defend your Title and exercise your Rights. We will send people and resources in the coming days.
Indigenous Environment Network, November 20
The Indigenous Environmental Network condemns the actions of Canada as it inflicts settler violence against the Wet’suwet’en peoples, hypocritically breaking both Wet’suwet’en and Canadian law to push TC Energy’s illegal Coastal Gaslink pipeline through unceded territories.
By entering sovereign Wet’suwet’en territory with RCMP, dogs and assault rifles we are witnessing state-sanctioned violence on behalf of an oil company, and such barbarous acts of violence inflicted upon Indigenous peoples cannot be defended. These attacks by RCMP are nothing less than Human Rights violations as defined by the United Nations, and acts of extreme detriment to the inherent sovereignty of the Wet’suwet’en. The Wet’suwet’en have asserted self-governance over their territories since time immemorial, and it is their inherent right to defend their lands, resources and bodies from foreign aggressors. They have signed no treaties nor have they relinquished title to their lands. They are not part of so-called Canada and have not consented to bearing the burden of the world’s dependence on an extractive industry such as oil.
We will continue to support the Wet’suwet’en in their struggle and call on others to join us in supporting our relatives. From disrupting business as usual to divesting from banks funding the theft of Indigenous lands, there are steps we can all take to stand with our relatives. These barbarous acts of violent aggression must cease and the inherent right to self determination must be upheld.
How You Can Help
Over the past two days heavily militarized RCMP tactical team have descending on Coyote Camp with snipers, assault rifles, and K9 units.
In total, eleven people were arrested at Coyote Camp, including Gidimt’en Checkpoint spokesperson, Sleydo’, and Dinï’ze Woos’ daughter, Jocey. Four more were arrested at 44km later that day, including Sleydo’s husband, Cody.
Solidarity actions began immediately. Now is the time. Plan, organize or join an action where you are.
The Wet’suwet’en Hereditary Chiefs represent a governance system that predates colonization and the Indian Act which was created in an attempt to outlaw Indigenous peoples from their lands.
The Wet’suwet’en have continued to exercise their unbroken, unextinguished, and unceded right to govern and occupy their lands by continuing and empowering the clan-based governance system to this day. Under Wet’suwet’en law, clans have a responsibility and right to control access to their territories.
The validity of the Wet’suwet’en house and clan system was verified in the Delgamuukw and Red Top Decisions that uphold the authority of the hereditary system on Wet’suwet’en traditional territories.
At this very moment a standoff is unfolding, the outcome of which will determine the future of Northern “BC” for generations to come. Will the entire region be overtaken by the fracking industry, or will Indigenous people asserting their sovereignty be successful in repelling the assault on their homelands?
The future is unwritten. What comes next will be greatly influenced by actions taken in the coming days and weeks. This is a long-term struggle, but it is at a critical moment. That is why we say: The Time is Now.
Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment, November 19
The Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment (CAPE) expresses our alignment with the November 17, 2021, statement of the Union of BC Indian Chiefs calling for an end to violence against Wet’suwet’en people and their allies in Wet’suwet’en territory and peaceful evacuation of Coastal GasLink.
As has been affirmed by the Supreme Court of Canada, and in alignment with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and the principles of Free, Prior, and Informed Consent, Rights and Title to Wet’suwet’en lands have never been ceded.
Preventing Indigenous peoples from accessing their own lands is in itself an act of violence. As an organization of physicians, we assert that access to medicine and warmth is essential for health and must not be restricted. We are also concerned about the mental health and potential trauma of land defenders met with police restrictions and arrest while engaged in protection of their own lands.
“It is disturbing to watch the governments of British Columbia and Canada promise to do everything they can to support stranded drivers and people whose neighbourhoods have turned into lakes while simultaneously allowing the RCMP to block access to Wet’suwet’en territories by Wet’suwet’en people and arrest land defenders,” says Dr. Larry Barzelai of the Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment. “We call on Premier Horgan and Prime Minister Trudeau to immediately intervene to end these actions that are restricting access to medication and causing harm to health.”
National Council of Canadian Muslims, November 20
The National Council of Canadian Muslims (NCCM) on November 20 tweeted its support for the Wet’suwet’en:
“NCCM is deeply concerned about the situation with the Wet’suwet’en members and the reported arrests of journalists covering the situation. We are reaching out to our Indigenous allies to offer our solidarity and our commitment to stand with them.”
Canadian Association of Journalists’ Letter to Public Safety Minister re: Arrested Canadian Journalists, November 22
The Canadian Association of Journalists (CAJ) on November 22 noted that it “is extremely concerned about two Canadian journalists, Amber Bracken and Michael Toledano, who were illegally arrested on Nov. 19 and remain in custody three days later. The CAJ demands their immediate release, the return of their belongings, and for the RCMP to drop all charges.
“More than 40 news outlets and press freedom organizations have signed on to the below letter, calling for Canada’s public safety minister to take immediate steps to investigate and correct the RCMP’s actions and to ensure that going forward, journalists’ right to report will be protected.”
Dear Minister Mendicino,
As we write this letter, two Canadian journalists are being held by police under your jurisdiction for doing their jobs.
This moment demands your involvement to immediately release journalists Amber Bracken and Michael Toledano, and to bring about a swift resolution respecting journalists’ fundamental rights. The national police force has repeatedly acted well beyond the law when dealing with members of the media, in defiance of court rulings. We ask you to exercise your oversight responsibility to correct these serious violations forthwith.
As you are aware, Amber Bracken and Michael Toledano were illegally arrested on Nov. 19 while reporting on the construction of a contentious natural gas pipeline in Wet’suwet’en territory in northern British Columbia. They were within the court injunction area — which court decision after court decision has affirmed journalists’ right to access — when the RCMP took them into custody and confiscated their belongings and equipment.
The RCMP stated the reason for arresting the two was because they had “embedded” with the protestors, which has never been illegal in Canada. Newfoundland and Labrador Supreme Court Justice Derek Green affirmed these rights when he found in favour of journalist Justin Brake who faced criminal and civil charges after spending several days inside the Muskrat Falls site covering a protest that shut work down at the dam in 2016. The civil charges were dismissed in 2019 by Justice Green. The criminal charges, too, were subsequently dropped.
Both Bracken and Toledano are journalists that have spent considerable time reporting on the land disputes associated with the construction of the Coastal GasLink project. Last year, Bracken was one of three journalists awarded with the CAJ’s Charles Bury Award for her outstanding contributions to journalism reporting on the Wet’suwet’en crisis for The Narwhal. Bracken was specifically selected for the award for protecting the public’s right to see events unfolding at Wet’suwet’en despite threats of arrest in 2020. Toledano has been living in the Wet’suwet’en territory for the past three years as a member of the media to create a documentary called “Yintah,” which will air on national television in 2022.
The arrests of Bracken and Toledano are just the latest instances of Canadian police detaining journalists who are simply trying to do their jobs. This past Thursday [November 18], the RCMP detained independent filmmaker Melissa Cox, who was later released without charges. This incident marks the second time Cox has been detained while covering a land dispute related to the Wet’suwet’en territory. Previous charges of mischief and trespass were thrown out of court last summer. In addition to Cox, law enforcement also arrested Indigenous journalist and podcast host Karl Dockstader who was covering a land dispute in Ontario. Those charges were later withdrawn.
At Fairy Creek, journalists were also repeatedly threatened and detained by RCMP officers. The situation became so egregious that, in August, the CAJ and a coalition of media intervened in the issuance of an injunction, asking the courts to remind law enforcement of the rights of media.
In two scathing written rulings, BC Supreme Court’s Justice Douglas Thompson determined that the vast exclusion zones, affiliated checkpoints, and media restrictions set up by RCMP officers at the injunction area are unlawful and “seriously and substantially” impacted important liberties. Justice Thompson ultimately refused to extend the injunction when he issued his second decision in September, stating the way the RCMP continued to violate Charter Rights when enforcing the injunction was causing a “depreciation” of the court’s reputation.
With 29 arrests over a two-day span, the decision to detain the press along with protestors represents a move by the RCMP to prevent the public from being informed about what is happening on the ground, during a standoff, which just recently, has included an RCMP vehicle striking an elder, the use of canines to effectuate arrests, and the continuous implementation of excessive exclusion zones.
It is crucial to acknowledge the context in which these detentions, of everyone from land defenders to media workers, are taking place. As Canada and its democratic and civic institutions contend with and promise to redress their roles in the oppression and dispossession of Indigenous people on their land, journalists have a unique and express duty to bear witness to and comprehensively cover news events of consequence. Federal agencies should see it in everyone’s collective democratic interest to not unlawfully impede residents’ access to information of great public concern.
The story Bracken and Toledano are there to cover is not about press freedom. As the Charter expressly guarantees anyone in Canada, including but not exclusively the press, the right of freedom of expression, their legally enshrined rights of access need be honoured so they, and all other media workers, can do the job of covering the story, and not becoming the story.
The RCMP must be held accountable for their repeated violations of the rights of media in Canada. As the minister responsible for their oversight, we demand that you take immediate steps to investigate and correct the RCMP’s actions and to ensure that going forward, journalists’ right to report will be protected in this country.
– www.yintahaccess.com –
Following the brutal and militarized raids on Gidimt’en Territory on November 18th and 19th, 2021, legal defense funds are once again needed to support Land Defenders and supporters facing charges.
Sleydo’ Molly Wickham, Chief Woos’ daughter Jocey, two members of the media, and other Indigenous land defenders were among the 32 people arrested at Coyote Camp and 44km during the two day siege. A convoy of dozens of RCMP officers escorting Coastal GasLink workers and heavy equipment, raided Coyote Camp, violently removing Wet’suwet’en people from their own lands. Those people need support now.
So far, all charges have been civil breach of the injunction. However, many people including Sleydo’ are being held until a bail hearing on Monday, when details about the charges being faced will be announced.
Prior to her arrest, Sleydo’ stated:
“The Wet’suwet’en people, under the governance of their Hereditary Chiefs, are standing in the way of the largest fracking project in Canadian history. Our medicines, our berries, our food, the animals, our water, our culture, our homes are all here since time immemorial. We will never abandon our children to live in a world with no clean water. We uphold our ancestral responsibilities. There will be no pipelines on Wet’suwet’en territory.”
Police were deployed in military garb, armed with assault weapons and dog teams, and enforced a media and communications blackout at the site. First, a cabin was breached with an axe and dog unit. Moments later, a separate cabin built on Coastal GasLink’s proposed drill pad site was breached with a chainsaw while snipers aimed at the door. RCMP did not have warrants required to enter either dwelling. After raiding Coyote Camp, police swept through Gidimt’en Checkpoint and made four more arrests, including Sleydo’s partner, Cody Merriman (Haida nation), legal observers, and accredited journalists who were there to witness the events.
Gidimt’en camp strongly condemns the repeated violations of Wet’suwet’en jurisdiction and Wet’suwet’en law in the middle of unprecedented climate-induced floods, storms, and a provincial state of emergency. Wet’suwet’en Hereditary Chiefs released a statement today declaring “RCMP are not welcome on our territories.” All Wet’suwet’en Clans have rejected the Coastal GasLink fracked gas pipeline, which has no authority to operate on Wet’suwet’en Yintah.
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Immediately following the RCMP raid on Wet’suwet’en territory people across the country went into action to oppose this latest attack on their sovereignty and rights. Marches, rallies and other actions took place in Toronto, Winnipeg, Burnaby, Victoria and Vancouver and at the Bowen Island Ferry terminal on November 19 and continue to date, with others planned throughout the week and beyond. Haudenosaunee land defenders of the Six Nations blockaded the Highway 6 bypass in Caledonia.
More than 300 people participated in a rally and march in Toronto on November 19 which began at the Royal Bank branch on Wellington Street. The Royal Bank is one of the main funders of the Coastal GasLink pipeline that is being built illegally on sovereign Wet’suwet’en lands without their consent. Following the rally, the protesters marched to the building where TC Energy, the owner of the Coastal GasLink pipeline, has its corporate offices. There they occupied the main lobby to present TC Energy with an eviction notice from the Wet’suwet’en people.
In Vancouver, two actions took place on November 19, the first called by the Wilderness Committee, the second by Fridays for Future. A militant rally was organized by the Wilderness Committee at the RCMP headquarters in Burnaby led by Indigenous elders and youth. Among the organizations represented was the Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment (CAPE). Following the rally there was a march to a busy intersection which was blocked by the demonstrators for almost two hours during which there were many expressions of support from drivers and passers-by. The marchers then proceeded to the nearby overpass over Highway One where banners were dropped so motorists travelling in both directions could see them.
The regular Fridays for Future demonstration at Vancouver City Hall also denounced the RCMP raid and stood in solidarity with Wet’suwet’en land defenders.
People marched through downtown Victoria with banners and signs supporting the Wet’suwet’en land defenders and the blockade at Fairy Creek. Youth at the Victoria rally expressed their frustration at not being able to go to Wet’suwet’en territory to give their support because of all the road closures in BC and called on everyone to go all out on social media to express their solidarity.
On November 20, some 200 people held an emergency rally in Toronto to stand with the Wet’suwet’en land defenders who are facing brutal racist violence from RCMP special paramilitary units unleashed by the racist colonial Canadian state against them. Following the speeches, the participants occupied the Spadina and Bloor intersection drumming, singing and chanting calls for an end to colonial and racist state violence against the Wet’suwet’en and all Indigenous peoples. Rail tracks in Toronto were blockaded on November 21.
In southern Ontario actions also took place on November 20 in Guelph where traffic was shut down at the intersection of Wellington and Gordon Streets, and in Windsor and in Hamilton on November 21. In Halifax there was also a rally on November 21.
On Monday, November 22 a protest took place outside the courthouse in Prince George where the land defenders arrested in the RCMP raids on Wet’suwet’en territory were making court appearances. In Edmonton hundreds of people, mainly youth, participated in a march organized by Climate Justice Edmonton.
Bowen Island Ferry Terminal
(Photos: RU, M. Olanick, J. Wegg, D. Clark, HDLC, M.J. Lo, Manitoba Energy Justice Coalition, Shades of Green, I. Ceris, A. Moore)
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