Rabble.ca: Rail blockades are proving to be an effective non-violent response to state violence

Brent Patterson February 15, 2020

Image: TOWetsuwetenSolidarity/Twitter

In the early hours of February 6, militarized Canadian police began a five-day long assault on the unceded and sovereign territory of the Wet’suwet’en people in northern British Columbia to facilitate the construction of a fracked gas pipeline that lacks that nation’s consent.

Nine days later, Wet’suwet’en land defender Dinize Ste ohn tsiy tweeted that a heavy RCMP presence on Wet’suwet’en territory continues.

In response to this violation of the rule of law (notably the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples), Indigenous peoples and allies took to the rails to demand that the RCMP and TC Energy Coastal GasLink, the company behind the controversial pipeline, remove themselves from Wet’suwet’en territory.

Hours after the invasion began, the Mohawks established a blockade on the railway tracks near Belleville, Ontario. By Saturday, February 8, the Gitxsan had established a blockade on the railway line near New Hazelton, British Columbia.

Several other railway blockades were also soon established across the country by Indigenous peoples and allies including near Montreal, Quebec; Listuguj, Quebec; Headingley, Manitoba; Port Coquitlam, British Columbia; and Toronto, Ontario.

And this morning (Saturday, February 15), Climate Justice Toronto tweeted that the “2nd Largest Rail Classification Yard in Canada Blockaded” adding, “Folks have blockaded US-bound CN rail tracks in North York in solidarity with Wet’suwet’en!” That means that all trains going west to Hamilton, London, New York and Michigan are now blocked.

Read more at Rabble.ca …

GlobalNews: Indigenous rights protesters in Victoria vowing ‘B.C. government shutdown’ remain peaceful

By Simon Little Global News – Posted February 14, 2020 11:17 am – Updated February 15, 2020 12:43 am

Protesters supporting Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs in their dispute over the Coastal GasLink pipeline vowed a “B.C. government shutdown” on Friday.

But despite the aggressive language of a social media post organizing the event, Friday’s demonstration was more a peaceful picket than the solid blockade seen at the B.C. legislature on Tuesday.

Dozens of protesters, some bearing signs, others handing out pamphlets, stood outside the environment and advanced education ministries, along with ministry offices downtown and on Jutland Road.

“There’s a lot of fake news and a lot of lies, but I’m hoping we can come together, there’s a lot of support,” said Quinn Franks, one of the Indigenous youth at the picket lines.

“We love our country and we’re supporting the Indigenous people,” said Roxanne Derkson, one of the dozens of people who turned out in support of the action.

Read more and see the videos at GlobalNews …

CityNews: Anti-pipeline protest in Mi’kmaq community shuts down rail line in eastern Quebec

by Giuseppe Valiante , The Canadian Press Posted Feb 14, 2020 6:06 pm EST

The president of a railway company in northern Quebec says protesters blocking the rail line in a First Nations community in support of the blockade against the Coastal GasLink pipeline are costing his company about $15,000 a day in revenue. A checkpoint is seen at a bridge leading to the Unist’ot’en camp on a remote logging road near Houston, B.C., Thursday, Jan. 17, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

MONTREAL — The president of a railway company in eastern Quebec says anti-pipeline protesters blocking the rail line in a First Nations community are costing his company about $15,000 a day in revenue.

About five or six people from the Mi’kmaq community of Listuguj, about 525 kilometres northeast of Quebec City by the New Brunswick border, have set up a campsite a few feet away from the tracks, said Eric Dube, president of the Chemin de fer de la Gaspesie.

The protest in Listuguj is among the Canada-wide demonstrations that have sprung up since last week in support of the Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs in northern British Columbia who are attempting to stop the construction of a natural gas pipeline. Protests have disrupted commercial and commuter rail traffic across the country.

Dube said he spoke to a couple of protesters Wednesday. “It seems like they are going to be there a while,” he said in an interview. “They are very determined.”

Director of public security for Listuguj, Peter Arsenault, said his department has no plan to remove the “small occupancy” of people from his community who were camping by the rail line. He said the police force doesn’t want to escalate things.

Read more at CityNews …

CBC: Video captures Wet’suwe’ten supporter pleading with RCMP in tense enforcement scene

WARNING: Video contains images that may be disturbing to some viewers

Chantelle Bellrichard · CBC News · Posted: Feb 14, 2020 3:40 PM ET | Last Updated: February 14

A screenshot from a video filmed by Denzel Sutherland-Wilson showing a member of the RCMP emergency response team providing what RCMP call ‘over watch’ during enforcement actions at a Wet’suwet’en checkpoint on Feb. 7, 2020. (Denzel Sutherland-Wilson)

A video showing some tense moments of the RCMP injunction enforcement at a Wet’suwet’en checkpoint last Friday is circulating online. 

The RCMP have been tasked with enforcing a B.C. Supreme Court injunction to ensure people are not blocking or interfering with construction of a natural gas pipeline through the Wet’suwet’en nation’s traditional territory. 

Denzel Sutherland-Wilson, a 23-year-old Gitxsan man who recorded most of the footage, said the scene captured in the video took place hours after police first arrived to enforce the injunction against him and a handful of friends, including Eve Saint, daughter of the hereditary chief of that territory, Chief Woos.

The video was taken on Feb. 7, the day of the second wave of enforcement from the RCMP which resulted in four arrests, including Sutherland-Wilson at the Gidimt’en checkpoint at the 44-kilometre mark on the Morice West Forest Service Road. 

The Gidimt’en checkpoint was one of several sites where the Wet’suwet’en and their supporters have been living and asserting that nobody could pass the checkpoint without the consent of the hereditary chiefs. 

It was posted on the Gidimt’en checkpoint Facebook page on Wednesday. 

Much of the video was shot while Sutherland-Wilson stood perched on top of a wooden tower that was constructed on top of a yellow school bus, surrounded by RCMP — including a canine unit and tactical police carrying semi-automatic guns. 

Read more and see the video at CBC.ca …

CBC: B.C.’s DNA is embedded in Wet’suwet’en demonstrations

It’s about privilege and power, race and resources, just as it’s been since Gold Rush days

Justin McElroy · CBC News · Posted: Feb 15, 2020 6:00 AM PT

Demonstrators rally at the B.C. Legislature on Tuesday to support Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs. (Michael McArthur/CBC)

At its core, this week of rotating blockades and demonstrations across B.C. is the same conflict that has always existed in this province. 

But it’s also different.

It’s the same because British Columbia’s political culture has long involved strikes and protests and civil disobedience, often meant to inconvenience, usually centred around rights and race and resources. 

“These have happened before and they will continue to happen,” said Rod Mickleburgh, a longtime B.C. journalist who has written books on the labour movement.

“We’re so wired to cover the latest thing and perhaps boost it out of all proportion to its relevance … and people forget our history.”

But the demonstrations supporting the Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs who oppose the Coastal GasLink pipeline are different, because technology and social media allow the dispute to play out in real time to the entire nation, with a level of coordination among young Indigenous leaders never before attained. 

Read more at CBC.ca …