Protesters take to B.C. Legislature over Northern B.C. pipeline dispute

Protesters take to B.C. Legislature over Northern B.C. pipeline dispute
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Protesters take to the steps of the B.C. Legislature Thursday, supporting opponents of a northern B.C. natural gas pipeline.

A group of about 100 people is at the B.C. Legislature, saying they stand with Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs opposed to a natural gas pipeline in Northern B.C.

The group is demanding premier John Horgan to speak with the Indigenous leader and the removal of RCMP near Houston.

The protest in Victoria comes as opponents of the pipeline expect further police action after six people were arrested near a Coastal GasLink work site.

The protestors say they will stay at the Legislature until they are arrested, or until Horgan meets with Wet’suwet’en leaders.

“B.C. has a duty to honour requests made by the Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs,” protester Kolin Sutherland-Wilson said.

“To withdraw the RCMP from their territories, to withdraw CGL from their territories, and to ultimately stop the current invasion that’s happening on their territories.”

RCMP are enforcing an expanded injunction granted to Coastal GasLink on Dec. 31.

RCMP said Wednesday that they had delayed enforcing the B.C. Supreme Court injunction for weeks to seek a peaceful resolution, but they had no choice but to follow the court’s orders.

Late Thursday afternoon, RCMP released information on the arrests, saying the six people were taken into custody for obstruction, including one for resisting arrest.

Officers went into the camp just after 4 a.m. and told protesters they were in an exclusion zone and were given the option to leave or be arrested.
Police say several individuals, including members of the media, were transferred for safety reasons but were not arrested.

Also Thursday, hereditary chiefs filed an application for a judicial review of a five-year extension of Coastal GasLink’s environmental assessment certificate, granted by the B.C. government.

Coastal GasLink president David Pfeiffer said in an open letter Thursday that the company is proud of its broad support from all 20 elected Indigenous governments along the pipeline path and is disappointed that it has not “found a way to work together for the benefit of the Wet’suwet’en people.”

The group Wet’suwet’en Solidarity Victoria is planning another rally at Centennial Square in Victoria Friday morning.

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