Victoria police say four people reported assaults during Wet’suwet’en protest at BC legislature

Victoria police say four people reported assaults during Wet’suwet’en protest at BC legislature
Victoria police make a path through Wet'suwet'en supporters on Feb. 11, 2020.

Victoria police say four people have reported being assaulted during the Wet’suwet’en protest at the B.C. legislature on Tuesday.

On Feb. 11, hundreds of supporters of the Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs who oppose the Coastal GasLink project blocked the entrances to the B.C. legislature before Premier John Horgan’s government delivered its throne speech. Protesters, who have been camping outside the building since Friday, chanted “Shame” as politicians tried to enter the building with help from security.

Victoria police did clear a path for some people to enter the building. All invited guests for the speech were not allowed into the building and other scheduled events were cancelled at the legislature.

On Tuesday, Victoria police said people were pushed and shoved during the protest. Later on Tuesday, police then said they were investigating reports of B.C. legislature staff and others being assaulted and injured during the protest.

Then on Wednesday, Victoria police put out a release saying four people have reported assaults and three of them received non-life-threatening injuries during the protest.

“The fourth was not physically injured, although equipment that person was carrying was reported to have been damaged,” police said in a statement.

Victoria police said they are still reaching out to “witnesses and victims” and are looking to speak with anyone who has information. Anyone who wants to speak to police can call the VicPD non-emergency line at 250-995-7654.

READ MORE: ‘My thoughts on that individual are not printable:’ Horgan responds after Victoria councillor Ben Isitt accuses VicPD of campaign against protesters

Indigenous supporters removed their encampment from the legislature steps late Tuesday after delaying but not preventing the start of the new session and delivery of the government’s throne speech.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has weighed on the protests over the pipeline project that have disrupted rail traffic across the country.

Speaking in Senegal today, he says the federal government respects the right to peaceful protest but the rule of law must also be respected.

Protesters have erected blockades across several rail lines in solidarity with those opposed to the Coastal GasLink pipeline project that crosses the traditional territory of the Wet’suwet’en First Nation in northern B.C.

The blockades followed the RCMP enforcing a court injunction last week against Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs and their supporters who have been blocking construction of the pipeline, a key part of the $40-billion LNG Canada liquefied-natural-gas export project.

Two hereditary chiefs of Wet’suwet’en First Nation are launching a constitutional challenge.

Wet’suwet’en Hereditary chief Lho’imggin, who also uses the name Alphonse Gagnon, and Smogilhgim, also known as Warner Naziel, say they want the Federal Court to declare Canada has a constitutional duty to meet international greenhouse gas emission targets.

If successful, Gagnon and Naziel believe the legal action could lead to cancellation of existing approvals for projects such as the $40-billion LNG Canada development, which depends on construction of the Coastal GasLink natural gas pipeline across traditional Wet’suwet’en territories in northwestern B.C.

Wet’suwet’en supporters are also in BC Supreme Court in Vancouver today challenging an injunction that ended a multi-day blockade at entrances to two ports.

With files from The Canadian Press


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