A total of 29 people, including two journalists, have been arrested since RCMP began an action to enforce a B.C. Supreme Court injunction granting Coastal GasLink (CGL) access to a pipeline worksite near Houston.
The enforcement action began Thursday (Nov. 18) with Mounties clearing a blockade on the Morice Forest Service Road that had been set up Nov. 14 by members of the Gidimt’en clan of the Wet’suwet’en and supporters.
Police confirmed Thursday evening they arrested 14 individuals during that time. On Friday in Smithers court, one of those people was released without charges, eight others were released on conditions and five were remanded to Prince George for a second appearance Monday (Nov. 21), an RCMP press release stated.
On Friday, Mounties proceeded to the Marten Forest Service Road where CGL intends to drill under the Morice River and where another blockade, referred to on the Gidimt’en Checkpoint Facebook page as “Coyote Camp”
The encampment was established Sept. 25 preventing drilling from proceeding.
RCMP said they encountered two occupied buildings at the site and read out the court injunction encouraging those inside to leave.
“The individuals failed to comply and officers broke through the doors, entered the structures and arrests were made without incident,” a Nov. 19 press release stated.
Eleven people were arrested at the camp including Sleydo’ (Molly Wickham) and two individuals who identified themselves as independent journalists.
A Gidimt’en Checkpoint media release characterized police actions as militarized and violent. It said officers breached the cabins with an axe, chainsaw, dog teams and snipers.
“I do not see any reconciliation in this,” said Gidmt’en hereditary Chief Woos. “For our brothers and sisters of all Indigenous organizations, let this be a sign that reconciliation in their eyes is really the White Paper in disguise.”
On their way back from the the Coyote Camp, RCMP said they were informed of protesters throwing rocks at CGL equipment and arrested four more individuals at the 44 km mark of the Morice Forest Service Road.
The 15 who were arrested Friday are scheduled to appear in court Monday.
The enforcement kicked off solidarity protests in numerous places including Kitimat, where members of the Haisla Nation staged a walkout.
In Victoria and Winnipeg, Man. supporters took to the streets and in Caledonia, Ont. a highway bypass was blocked.
In both 2019 and 2020, conflict over the pipeline escalated when RCMP enforced B.C. Supreme Court injunctions issued to Coastal GasLink and arrested project opponents.
Last year, the conflict kicked off nationwide protests that stopped railways and put a spotlight on Indigenous rights and jurisdiction.