New video of the Wet’suwet’en Highway 19 blockade shows another dramatic encounter.
A distinctive pick-up truck drove through the anti-pipeline blockade on Highway 19 near Courtenay on two separate occasions Monday.
The first time the truck broke through the blockade was Monday morning.
It crossed the grass divider before driving away southbound.
No demonstrators were at the northbound exit during the incident.
About two hours later, the truck drove through the blockade again.
This time, protesters surrounded the truck and two demonstrators pushed a large piece of plywood in front of the vehicle in an attempt to block it.
Video posted to Instagram shows the tense moments inside the truck as the plywood went under the vehicle.
In the video, a Confederate flag with a pinup girl is seen on the dashboard. The flag is often regarded as a symbol of racial oppression.
Wet’suwet’en protesters blocked the highway in both directions for approximately 22 hours.
They say they planned to block the highway for as long as it took for provincial and federal governments to respond to what they say is “violent oppression happening in the Wet’suwet’en nation.”
But the protest organizers — who say they’re a group of concerned residents defending their home in the K’omoks Territory — emailed CHEK News Tuesday afternoon to say they were forced to stop their blockade early.
“We, a group of concerned residents defending our home in the K’omoks Territory with the aid of some K’omoks Nation people blockaded highway 19 at exit 117 for approximately 22 hours in response to the violent oppression happening in the Wet’suwet’en nation,” the email, which came from Extinction Rebellion Nanaimo, said. The email said that the protest was not an Extinction Rebellion event but Extinction Rebellion Nanaimo was supporting the facilitation of the event.
“Due to a series of escalating security/safety concerns, we were forced to either remove ourselves from the area or suffer physical violence at the hands of radical ideologues and racists.”
They say tensions started to rise around lunchtime.
“Five individuals, possibly from The Proud Boys Neo-Nazi group, approached our blockade and dismantled it in an aggressive fashion,” the email claims.
“A pick-up truck owned by a person presumed to be working in coordination with the five other individuals smashed through a part of the barrier one of our supporters was in the process of reconstructing. From this point onward, we received a steadily escalating number of threats of physical violence on social media and several incidences of trucks swerving dangerously close to our demonstrators below the overpass in an apparent effort to intimidate.”
The demonstrators say there was another brief altercation in the evening and police were notified.
The blockade, in support of Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs trying to stop Coastal Gaslink from building an LNG pipeline in Northern B.C., is part of a Canada-wide movement that is seeing trains blocked in Ontario and people prevented from entering the B.C. Legislature.
Twenty band councils along the pipeline route have signed on in support of the deal.
The demonstrators refer to themselves as land defenders fighting for First Nations’ rights.