Thursday, in the northcentral BC, RCMP arrested six people for obstruction as police enforced a court-ordered injunction at the controversial LNG pipeline through the Wet’suwet’en territory.
"On February 6, 2020, the RCMP access control checkpoint at the 27 km mark of the Morice West Forest Service Road became the start-point for an RCMP exclusion zone to conduct enforcement action of the BC Supreme Court injunction," the RCMP media release said.
"Just after 4 a.m. officers went into the camp at 39.5 km to remove those whose presence would interfere with the lawful execution of duties. Individuals were told that the area they were occupying was, as of 3 o’clock that morning, now a part of the exclusion zone and were given the option to depart the area or be arrested for obstruction."
RCMP said a total of six individuals refused to leave the area and were arrested for obstruction. One individual was arrested for resisting arrest as well as obstruction. Several individuals, including members of the media, were transferred out for safety reasons, but not arrested.
RCMP said one male, dressed in a costume, fled from police and climbed up a tree but was taken in custody a short time later without incident. Police said another protester locked herself inside a vehicle, and removed her clothing. A window was broken in order to gain access to that vehicle. No injuries were received by the protester and she was subsequently taken into custody.
"All six individuals were transported to the Houston RCMP Detachment for processing," RCMP said. "They have all had access to counsel and it is anticipated that they will be released with an upcoming court date."
RCMP said the exclusion zone established by the RCMP is expansive from the onset of the enforcement operation due to the remote location of the blockades. At this time, there are no restrictions on anyone from returning back to the 27 km point, which has been designated as a protest and media site.
However, due to the nature of the work being undertaken, the heavy machinery that is being brought in by the company, the treacherous weather and road conditions in the area, and other unforeseen circumstances, anyone traveling the Morice West Forest Service Road should anticipate being stopped and restricted from the area at any given point because the situation is dynamic and ongoing.
Police said once company employees have completed their work, the exclusion zone will be removed allowing for peaceful, lawful and safe protest to resume within the area currently in the exclusion zone.
"While optically, due to the number of police officers deployed, our presence may appear imposing," RCMP said. "In reality, a minimal amount of force was required to support the arrests or removal of individuals from within the exclusion zone."
Thursday, a small group of activists in support of the Wet’suwet’en held a protest in front of the office of Nelson-Creston MLA Michelle Mungall.