Halifax demonstrators rally in support of B.C. First Nations pipeline blockade

Downtown pipeline protest draws small crowd

"Indigenous land defenders must be treated with respect and must have their right to defend their lands and territories from the impacts of industry and climate change recognized and protected".

A sign for a blockade check point by the Gidimt'en clan of the Wet'suwet'en First Nation. UNDRIP's Article 10 clearly states "Indigenous peoples shall not be forcibly removed from their land or territories".

Members of the Gidimt'en clan of the Wet'suwet'en First Nation have set up a camp and a checkpoint southwest of Houston, B.C., on a forest-service road that leads to a pipeline construction site.

Police were enforcing a B.C. Supreme Court injunction granted to TransCanada Corp. subsidiary Coastal GasLink.

"The RCMP respects and protects the right to peaceful demonstrations as guaranteed under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms", it said. The company negotiated agreements with all elected bands along the propose route from Dawson Creek to Kitimat but is now meeting opposition from hereditary chiefs and supporters.

Wickham, who has fielded calls from India and the United Kingdom about the pipeline resistance, said it's been "surreal" to see the worldwide response. The Delgamuukw case set a precedent that the Wet'suwet'en never extinguished their title and rights.

On Monday, RCMP breached a checkpoint created on unceded Wet'suwet'en First Nation territory and arrested 14 people.

Christian said the Shuswap Nation Tribal Council - which is composed of nine Secwepemc communities in the southern Interior, including Tk'emlups - supports the traditional governance and decision-making process of Wet'suwet'en leaders. In much of Canada, land rights are determined by treaties signed between the colonial government and indigenous tribes.

"The provincial and federal governments must revoke the permits for this project until the standards of free, prior and informed consent are met", Phillip says in the release.

Protests were also held in other cities across the country.

In Ottawa, dozens of protesters drummed and chanted outside a Sussex Drive office, delaying Prime Minister Justin Trudeau from giving a speech to a forum that brought together federal officials and representatives from self-governing First Nations.

"We are bound by the rule of law in this country", he said. "I want to say to Prime Minister Trudeau: Welcome to battle ground British Columbia".

"The big thing is we've got to be able to support our communities that said yes to this (project) because it's their community that needs that financial benefit", he said.

"When we have grey areas and uncertainties, that's when the tensions arise and that's where people get frustrated, and I understand that frustration", he added.

"Enforcing Canada's laws means upholding human rights and First Nations rights".

In December, British Columbia's Supreme Court issued an injunction that ordered the protesters to let workers through, leading to this week's standoff.

"There are very real communities being affected by this - terrorized by this".

"To me they're working for the company, they're not keeping no peace".

New Democrat MP Nathan Cullen, who represents the area, said the conflict has been developing for years - in part because of a failure to recognize the nuances between elected and hereditary Indigenous governments.

The RCMP says the zone remains in place and will be consistently re-assessed.

The injunction gave protesters 72 hours to remove obstructions and the police say that had not happened, preventing Coastal Gaslink Pipeline Ltd. from being able to do any work in the area.

The defendants are also prohibited from threatening, intimidating or getting within 10 metres of anyone actively working on the project.LNG Canada announced on October 2 that its joint venture participants had taken a positive investment decision to construct the Kitimat export facility.B.C.



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