VIDEO: B.C. legislature pipeline protest camp disrupts throne speech ceremonies

A number of supporters blocked each entrance to the B.C. Legislature in solidarity with the Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs. (Kendra Crighton/News Staff)
Tents shielding food and supplies for supporters who have occupied the B.C. Legislature for six days. (Kendra Crighton/News Staff)
Kolin Sutherland-Wilson and Sii-am Hamilton address the hundreds of people outside the B.C. Legislature. (Kendra Crighton/News Staff)
Allies with the Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs showed their support at the B.C. Legislature. (Kendra Crighton/News Staff)
Allies with the Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs showed their support at the B.C. Legislature. (Kendra Crighton/News Staff)
A group of Victoria police officers stand by as supporters block entrances to the B.C. Legislature. (Kendra Crighton/News Staff)

A throne speech at the B.C. legislature usually begins with an assembly of police and military members in dress uniform, a 15-gun salute and an inspection by Lieutenant Governor.

The 2020 version has an assembly of police, but they are keeping watch over a sprawling tent camp that has spread across the legislature steps since a group of protesters supporting gas pipeline blockaders near Smithers moved to the site Feb. 6.

The ceremonial arrival and inspection by Lt. Governor Janet Austin Tuesday have been cancelled, as protesters backing a group of Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs and their supporters at blockades near Smithers plan the latest of a series of rallies to coincide with the speech.

Protesters began blocking all entrances to the legislature Tuesday morning, trying to prevent MLAs, staff and media from entering the building.

The speech to begin the spring session of the legislature sets out the government’s priorities for the coming term. Premier John Horgan has said this session will include legislation to overhaul the Insurance Corp. of B.C., taking most injury disputes out of courts.

The protesters have repeated their demands since occupying the ceremonial entrance of the legislature. They are defying a B.C. Supreme Court injunction to allow construction of the Coastal GasLink pipeline from gas fields near Dawson Creek to a new liquefied natural gas export facility at Kitimat.

RELATED: Protesters appear in Smithers court after defying injunction

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The project has been approved by the federal and provincial governments, as well as all 20 elected Indigenous councils along the route, including the Wet’suwet’en. Protesters reject the courts and elected officials, calling the RCMP enforcement of the injunction an “invasion.”

Their threats to “shut Canada down” were manifested with blockades at bridges, the Port of Vancouver and other critical infrastructure across Canada.


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

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