12 protesters were arrested Wednesday
For the second time this week protesters fighting against the natural gas pipeline project in Northern B.C. made their presence felt in Victoria. The group protesting inside the Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources building since Tuesday morning.
“We as Indigenous people know historically Canada does not keep promises with us and so what we need is a confirmation that seems genuine. We need proof that the promises of to us will be kept and the at the promises to Wet’suwet’en people will be kept.” said protester Ta’Kaiya Blaney.
The first round of protests took place Monday at Swartz Bay Ferry Terminal which backed up traffic and caused major delays, but no arrests were made. Today however, a different story. After over 15 hours of negotiating, Victoria Police arrested 12 adults over a four hour span, the final arrest coming at around 6 a.m. Two hours later, protesters returned to the streets. Police say The minimum amount of force was utilized in the arrests, but one witness claims otherwise.
“They were very verbal with expressing that they were in pain. They were saying I’m in pain, you’re hurting me, I feel unsafe, you’re cutting into my skin, you’re cutting into my skin. Stop, stop and the Police would not stop,” said Legal Observer Nigel Robinson.
The group is also demanding RCMP remove a blockade from the Coastal Gas Link site and are calling for respect from Premiere John Horgan
While it’s too early to tell the overall impact of these two protests, experts say causing a disturbance to members of the public can be very counterproductive. “The average person on the street or in their car is thinking, I might have been sympathetic to your cause but why are you impacting me and my life, why are you impacting people that have nothing to do with it. And then it overshadows the message.” said University of Victoria Sessional Instructor Michael Carpenter.
No charges have been laid following the arrests.