Around 400 people closed Portage Avenue and Main Street during Monday night’s rush hour to gather behind the pipe’s opponents in the Wet’s Firstwet’s Nation in northern B.C. Protesters also stopped traffic on a stretch of Edmonton Street.
“This is one of the biggest fights we are facing right now in Canada,” said protester Kaitlyn Duthie. “Climate change threatens us all. And the warriors and defenders of the land in the territory of Wet’suwet’en are at the forefront of this struggle. “
The demonstration was one of several in Canada that interrupted transport.
“And what if they bother you? Our people have problems all the time. Like the fact that we were arrested on false charges,” said Anishinaabe community organizer and activist, Sadie-Phoenix Lavoie.
Last week, RCMP began arresting anti-pipeline protesters in B.C. for challenging a court order by blocking the construction of the Coastal Gaslink pipeline. The natural gas pipeline was approved by the provincial and federal government, along with 20 councils of the band along the route. But hereditary chiefs in Wet’suwet’s who claim to have authority over the land oppose the project.
“We need to do something about climate change,” Lavoie said. “We need to do something with these pipes. We need to protect our people. “
Around 30 protesters were arrested in Vancouver on Monday after the occupied ports were blocked in a show of solidarity with the protesters in Wet’suwet’en. BC. Prime Minister John Horgan said the pipeline is economically important to the province and said the courts have made a decision.
“People have the right to say what they think,” said Horgan. “But there is a line and that line is when you get in the way of other people’s rights.”
The rally in Winnipeg only lasts about an hour and a half. But protesters said it is part of a wider push for stronger indigenous rights across the country.
“If we are going to take it out of the ground, we have to return it,” protester Karen Flatfoot said.
Protesters promised to keep up the pressure, unless the government recedes into the pipeline.