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RCMP arrest 15 more opponents of Coastal GasLink pipeline

A total of 29 arrests have been made since enforcement of a court injunction started Nov. 18
RCMP deployed at Morice Forest Service Road. (Gidimt’en Checkpoint Facebook photo)

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.

READ MORE: RCMP clear Coastal GasLink blockade near Houston

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.

READ MORE: Members of Haisla Nation walk out in solidarity with Wet’suwet’en

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.

READ MORE: PHOTOS: Wet’suwet’en solidarity protest hits the streets in Victoria

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.

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Aerial view of damage to Morice Forest Service Road and Lamprey Creek Bridge. (Coastal GasLink photo)

Thom Barker

About the Author: Thom Barker

After graduating with a geology degree from Carleton University and taking a detour through the high tech business, Thom started his journalism career as a fact-checker for a magazine in Ottawa in 2002.
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