A new pipeline protest is gathering at the corner of Main Street and East Hastings Avenue in Vancouver Monday afternoon, just hours after dozens of people were arrested this morning.
Photos on social media show dozens of Wet’suwet’en supporters blocking off the intersection. Those gathered are protesting the Coastal GasLink pipeline, which would carry natural gas 670 kilometres across B.C. to an export facility in Kitimat.
Protesters can be heard shouting: “Stop the invasion, we stand with Wet’suwet’en.”
In a social media post, Vancouver police said the protest was leading to traffic delays in the Downtown East Side.
Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs have long opposed the Coast GasLink pipeline, although the company has signed benefit agreements with all 20 elected chiefs along the route.
Earlier Monday morning, police arrested 47 people people who violated a court injunction that ordered protesters to stop blocking four Metro Vancouver ports.
Jen Wickham, a spokeswoman for one of the five clans that make up the Wet’suwet’en Nation, said its members led by hereditary chiefs are defending their territory from construction of the Coastal GasLink pipeline.
“We are the rightful title owners of our territory and we will continue to assert our sovereignty,” she said. “It’s not a question of protesting. It’s a question of their homes. They’re defending their homes.”
The RCMP began enforcing a court injunction last week against people camped near a pipeline work site in Houston.
The conflict has prompted demonstrations spanning from the steps of the British Columbia legislature to a Via Rail line running between Montreal and Toronto. Wickham said she believes there is a growing understanding of First Nations rights among non-Indigenous Canadians.
“I think that people are starting to wake up to the fact that we have the right to our territory,” she said.
“They’re upset and they’re taking to the streets. They’re occupying offices, they’re stopping traffic and they’re stopping trains. They’re saying, loud and clear, ‘This is not OK.’”
People in Vancouver are taking the streets and blocking the intersection of Main and Hastings in solidarity with #Wetsuweten. No pipelines on stolen native land. #AllEyesOnWetsuweten #WetsuwetenStrong @UnistotenCamp pic.twitter.com/RYLQFuJEmG
— Nayeli Jimenez (@nayelijs) February 10, 2020
Hundreds in the intersection of Main and Hastings, the latest in dozens (a hundred?) intersections and thoroughfares shut down in solidarity with #Wetsuweten in the last few days.#WetsuwetenStrong #alleyesonWetsuweten #NoTrespass #NoConsentNoPipeline #yvr #bcpoli #cdnpoli pic.twitter.com/6CmSsYDRnb
— Torrance Coste (@TorranceCoste) February 10, 2020