Peaceful protests in support of Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs close Victoria’s BC Government offices

WatchWATCH: Injunction bars protesters from blocking legislature, amid plans to shut down government buildings in Victoria

The demonstrations on Friday started early.

Activists in support of the Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs put up banners in front of dozens of government buildings in Victoria, including the Ministry of Health, the provincial courthouse, the Queen’s Printer and more.

All the groups made protest lines in front and at every doorway.

One of the supporters was Kolin Sutherland-Wilson, who are following through on a promised shutdown of the government.

“Together we can set a new precedent,” Sutherland-Wilson said while addressing a crowd of protesters in front of Victoria’s courthouse.

While most sites were calm, there was at least one incident. Protest organizations tried to stop a CBC TV crew from interviewing an Indigenous youth and attempted to block a news crew from filming.  But overall, the demonstrations were quieter than Tuesday’s blockade of the legislature.

WATCH: Injunction bars protesters from blocking legislature, amid plans to shut down government buildings in Victoria

An estimated 10,000 government workers did not come into work Friday, according to BC Government & Service Employees’ Union (BCGEU) president Stephanie Smith.

“In B.C.,the labour movement believes a line is a line,” Smith said.

Smith said that after Tuesday’s action, and with news of this morning’s action, the union decided to err on the side of caution.

“Protest is the lifeblood of the labour movement. I’ve said this before, as a woman, I wouldn’t have the vote if it hadn’t been for protests and civil disobedience,” Smith said.

Right-wing activist Aaron Gunn acknowledged the protesters were far more successful today.

“To me, actually, this is what Canada is all about, the freedom of expression, freedom of speech, and freedom of assembly,” Gunn said.

Wet’suwet’en supporters wrapped up the protests at noon with a rally across the street from Victoria City Hall. Sutherland-Wilson vows that there are more protests to come.

“I think it went well.  But it’s only the beginning.  As long as RCMP and CGL [Coastal GasLink] continue to infringe Wet’suwet’en law, and continue their invasion of their territory, the people all across this nation will stand up,” Sutherland-Wilson said.

Mary GriffinMary Griffin

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