Five people have been arrested after a group of Indigenous youth occupied an office at the BC Legislature on Wednesday night.
Victoria Police Department sent out a tweet early Thursday morning confirming the arrests were on the grounds of mischief.
UPDATE | Five protesters were arrested for mischief at the B.C. Legislature just after 9 p.m. Wednesday night. There were no injuries in the arrests. Officers used the minimum amount of force needed to safely affect the arrests. (1/4) #yyj #F209787
— Victoria Police (@vicpdcanada) March 5, 2020
The issues arose following a meeting that was schedule between a group of Indigenous youth and Scott Fraser, Minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation. The demonstrators said they met with Fraser to discuss the ongoing dispute over the Coastal GasLink pipeline in northern BC. According to one protester who was outside on the legislature grounds, however, the meeting between the two sides went sour.
“We asked if he would stand with us to ensure that man camps that are directly related to violence against our woman would be evicted off our territories and he said no…so no the meetings did not go well.” Gina Mowatt told CHEK News.
Following the meeting which lasted a couple hours, a group of Indigenous youth occupied Fraser’s office inside the parliament building. They opened windows to the outside, communicating with other Wet’suwet’en land defenders and leading them in chants while Victoria Police officers surround the locked room.
These 7 youth, from our delegation of youth from many Indigenous nations, are inside the monument to colonial governance where so-called BC conducts its colonial business. Relatives & supporters outside are singing, & drumming to hold the ceremonial space.
— Indigenous Youth for Wet’suwet’en (@IY4wetsuweten) March 5, 2020
“We are the ones who have exhausted every avenue to come to a peaceful resolution to this issue and now we’re the ones that are forced to do these actions to get any attention from the Provincial Government.” Mowatt added. “We’re fighting for our safety and we’re fighting for our survival and we’re doing so peacefully.”
— Graham Cox (@vanislandgee) March 5, 2020
Protesters have occupied the BC Legislature’s front steps for over a week as they continue to push the BC Government, despite a tentative land agreement in place between the Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs and the federal government.
CHEK has reached out to Victoria Police and to the provincial government and are awaiting a response.