UPDATE: RCMP allay fears of ‘full-scale’ action at northern B.C. anti-pipeline camp

Protesters are seeking to stop the Coastal GasLink pipeline

RCMP say they are hoping for the peaceful enforcement of a court order calling for an Indigenous anti-pipeline protest camp to stop blocking pipeline construction in northern B.C.

The statement comes after protest organizers had said on social media that they feared a ‘full-scale’ RCMP invasion of the camp.

Dozens of Indigenous peoples and supporters have been gathered at a key access point on Gidimt’en territory for months as they seek to stop the Coastal GasLink pipeline from going through their lands.

The anti-pipeline camp is set up at the Wet’suwet’en Access Point on Gidimt’en lands to protest the pipeline, south of Smithers and west of Houston.

The proposed 670 kilometre pipeline is expected to move natural gas from Dawson Creek to the newly-approved LNG Canada export facility near Kitimat.

VIDEO: Horgan, Trudeau speak on $40B LNG Canada investment in Kitimat

In December, a B.C. Supreme Court judge granted the extension of an interim injunction against two First Nations camps that have been blocking the access to a LNG construction site in the northwestern B.C. community of Houston for several weeks.

According to Cpl. Madonna Saunderson, police are in charge of enforcing the injunction but it is up to “RCMP discretion to decide how and when to enforce the injunction.”

“The primary concerns of the police are public safety, police officer safety, and preservation of the right to peaceful, lawful and safe protest, within the terms set by the Supreme Court in the injunction,” Saunderson said in a statement.

The injunction was originally granted to Coastal GasLink on Dec. 14 against the Unist’ot’en camp, another protest camp that describes its efforts as a re-occupation of Wet’suwet’en land.

The Gidimt’en camp is set up near the Morice River bridge and blocks access to pre-construction works for the Coastal GasLink pipeline.

Saunderson said police are “very hopeful that there will not be violence or disorder” as they enforce the injunction but that the safety of police officers and the public is “paramount.”

“Our priority has been a commitment to open dialogue and our members have engaged with those leaders and Indigenous communities directly connected with the Unist’ot’en camp,” Saunderson said in a statement.

TransCanada, the builders of the Coastal GasLink pipeline, announced in September that all 20 First Nations groups along the length of the pipeline route have now signed a project agreement.

READ MORE: Protesters opposing LNG Canada drop banners inside B.C. legislature

But Indigenous protesters say they were not consulted about the project, and are just trying to protect Wet’suwet’en traditional territory.

The Gidimt’en are one of five clans that make up the Wet’suwet’en, who were the winners in a landmark Supreme Court of Canada decision that asserted the First Nation’s land rights and titles had never been extinguished.

On a Facebook page dedicated to the Wet’suwet’en Access Point, organizers said Sunday they’ve received “numerous credible tips” about a “massive police buildup in Wet’suwet’en territories.”

“We face the real and imminent threat of forcible removal from our own homelands,” the post reads.

Saunderson said there was “less than half a dozen” officers in the Smithers area currently, but said the public “may notice an increase in [police] resources” near the protest camps in the coming weeks.

READ MORE: Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs say no to approved LNG pipeline

An international day of protest is planned for Jan. 8, with B.C. rallies scheduled at the Supreme Court buildings in Vancouver and at the B.C. Legislature in Victoria.


@katslepian

katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Surrey council approves modular housing projects for homeless after lengthy hearing

Vote comes after three-hour-long public hearing over supportive housing projects in Whalley, Guildford

Surrey mayor appoints his Safe Surrey Coalition to police transition committee

McCallum dissolved the city’s public safety committee last week in favour of the new committee

Rollover crash in South Surrey

One person airlifted following incident near 40 Avenue and 160 Street

VIDEO: Gone Country success means so much to cancer patient

Mother of three, recovering from breast cancer treatment, makes it to seventh annual charity concert

PHOTOS: Beach day in White Rock

Summer heat brings locals and tourists to the beach

VIDEO: Young couple found dead in northern B.C. had been shot, police say

Chynna Noelle Deese of the U.S. and Lucas Robertson Fowler of Australia were found along Highway 97

Hazmat incident closes down Lower Mainland street

One person is believed to be dead, police said

VIDEO: Man found dead near B.C. teens’ truck could be linked to a double homicide

RCMP said they are looking for Kam McLeod, 19, and Bryer Schmegelsky, 18, of Port Alberni

Latest plan is to fly trapped fish by helicopter over Big Bar slide

Multi-pronged plan set in motion to freesalmon blocked by landslide in the Fraser River

Family of missing B.C. senior with dementia frustrated with situation, heartened by community support

Nine days since Grace was last seen the question remains: ‘How can an 86-year-old just disappear?’

Unsealed record suggests U.S. man convicted of murdering Vancouver Island couple left DNA on zip tie in 1987

William Talbott is set to be sentenced Wednesday in the murders of Jay Cook and Tanya Van Cuylenborg

Okanagan Air Cadet challenges gender-exclusive haircut policy

Haircut regulation inspires challenge around gender identity

Pride flags stolen from Lower Mainland church

Went missing sometime Friday night, says Maple Ridge reverend

25 new wheelchair-accessible cabins open at Cultus Lake Provincial Park

Maple Bay Campground is now home to 25 new wheelchair friendly cabins, a first for BC Parks

Most Read