Supporters of Extinction Rebellion West Kootenay were back on the streets in Nelson, slowing traffic on Vernon Street during the weekend as a sign of solidarity with all five clan chiefs of the Wet’suwet’en nation, who unanimously oppose the Coastal Gas Link Pipeline invading their un-surrendered territory.
For weeks Wet’suwet’en Land Defenders have built a resistance camp that has slowed the work of Coastal GasLink, which led to the arrest of multiple occupants — including two who police say identified themselves as journalists last week.
The camp had stopped the plans of Coastal GasLinks to drill a tunnel under the Wedzin Kwa river for the natural gas pipeline.
“The Wet’suwet’en people have allies all over the world,” said 17-year-old demonstrator Chicayla Thompson of Nelson in a Extinction Rebellion West Kootenay media release.
“We know that the government and industry do not consult with or have the consent of the hereditary chiefs of the land.”
Thompson said fracked gas is a direct contributor to the burning towns, the smoky air, the floods, the collapsed highways, and the heatwaves that experienced during the past five months in the province.
‘We know that 95% of BC is unceded Indigenous territory, making it illegally occupied under international law,” Thompson explained.
“And we know that when the RCMP operates against Indigenous land defenders, they break their own laws and use excessive force,” Thompson added.
“We have seen it from Fairy Creek to Tiny House Warriors, to Wet’suwet’en resistance. The question is, what are we going to do about it? We are just starting to feel the effects of the climate crisis in so called BC, and it is paramount that we recognize the path forward to be guided by Indigenous people and systems. Above all we must act.”
Extinction Rebellion West Kootenay said last week at least 29 people were arrested on the Gidimt’en clan’s Yintah by RCMP for upholding a traditional Wet'suwet'en trespassing law against the Coastal Gas Link Pipeline.
Extinction Rebellion West Kootenay said during the time of the arrests, the Indigenous land defenders and their supporters were peacefully preventing the construction of the Coastal Gaslink Pipeline and enforcing an eviction order issued by the hereditary government of the Wet’suwet’en Nation, under the authority of Chief Woos.
And all people present were arrested, including media, legal observers, and other people who were legally not violating the terms of the injunction under which they were arrested.
“It is completely insane, that while so called BC is in a state of flooding emergency due to the climate catastrophe, the government is spending our money to fund at least 50 militarized police units with helicopters and machine guns to arrest Indigenus people peacefully occupying their own land,” said 15-year-old Ginger Oseki.
“It only becomes more insane when you take into consideration the fact that these Wet’suwet’en chiefs and supporters are standing against a project that would exacerbate the current climate crisis we are currently beginning to experience, which will only create more flooding and more wildfires.
"Under the Supreme Court of Canada, through the Delgamuukw verdict, the Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs hold the rightful title to their land. RCMP need to cease and desist immediately, and the BC Government needs to cancel the Coastal Gas Link Pipeline and create green alternative jobs.”
RCMP in a media release said officers enforced the injunction order granted to Coastal GasLink continued on Friday November 19, 2021, in an effort to clear obstructions and blockades along a couple of forest service roads.
RCMP said in total 15 individuals were arrest for today for breaching the injunction. They were transported to the Houston RCMP Detachment for processing and will be held in custody to appear before the BC Supreme Court.
RCMP said the individuals arrested on Thursday November 18, 2021 appeared in a Smithers Court today.
Of the 14 arrested, one was released with no charges and with respect to the remaining 13 - eight were released on conditions and five were transported to Prince George to appear in court.
A Extinction Rebellion West Kootenay supporter drops a sign from the Nelson Parkaide during a protest over the weekend. — Submitted