Unist’ot’en protest group fears police raid is imminent

Members of the Unist'ot'en anti-pipeline activist group have consolidated their members into one location fearing an imminent police raid.

Members of the Unist’ot’en anti-pipeline activist group have consolidated their members into one location fearing a police raid is imminent.

The Unist’ot’en house group, which is part of the Wet’suwet’en Nation, runs a camp blocking pipeline proponents from accessing their traditional territory south of Houston.

Two alternate routes for TransCanada’s proposed Coastal GasLink LNG pipeline would cross Unist’ot’en territory on their way from north-east B.C. to a processing facility in Kitimat.

In conjunction with the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs, the camp yesterday issued a press release claiming members of its camp were preparing for a “large-scale RCMP mass arrest operation”.

Camp spokesperson Freda Huson told The Interior News today that a police source had leaked information about a possible operation.

“Somebody inside leaked out that they are planning to take down the camp,” she said.

Huson said a perceived increase in the police presence in Smithers and Houston was another reason members of the clan suspected the RCMP was planning a raid.

The B.C. Civil Liberties Association also wrote to the RCMP yesterday to warn against raiding the camp based on information from camp members.

Camp supporters issued a further letter with more than fifty signatories to police and the federal and provincial governments.

She said a lawyer representing the Unist’ot’en group had been asked to contact the RCMP and request a meeting to discuss any planned injunctions or arrests.

Last night, Huson closed one of two Unist’ot’en blockades because she wanted all of the camp’s supporters in one location.

She said this was so there were more witnesses and more cameras in case police came to the camp.

“We weigh all those things out and I decided that it’s best if we’re all here together and there’s more than one camera so they can’t take the camera away because the camera is our safety here, that’s what we use,” she said.

“We have footage to prove that we’ve been peaceful and we have footage to prove that we’ve been nothing but respectful to even the pipeline crews.”

Closing the checkpoint allowed a TransCanada crew working on the Coastal GasLink Pipeline Project to access Unist’ot’en land today.

Yesterday the company reported Unist’ot’en members to the RCMP after a convoy of its Coastal GasLink Pipeline Project workers were refused access to Wet’suwet’en land at the Chisholm Road checkpoint.

RCMP media spokesperson Corporal Janelle Shoihet addressed rumours of mass arrests in a statement issued last night.

“We understand that there has been some discussions on social media that don’t accurately reflect the RCMP’s action or the situation,” she said.

“To date there has been no police action.

“It is our understanding that discussions between industry and the Wet’suwet’en are still possible.”

She said the RCMP remained impartial in the ongoing dispute between the clan and the pipeline proponents.

Coastal GasLink project planning and execution director Greg Cano said his company had not applied for any court injunctions in an attempt to access the territory.

He said TransCanada was trying establish a dialogue with the group.

“Being a good neighbour means sitting down with people, even when they don’t agree with us or have different perspectives,” he said.

“This helps us address their questions, benefit from their local knowledge and take their input into consideration during the planning stages of a project like this.

“This approach has already resulted in us investigating an alternate route and considering other realignment along the pipeline route, and we appreciate the time that so many people have taken to provide us with this valuable input.”


Just Posted

Prince Rupert Gas Transmission project searches for partners

TransCanada is renewing permits for its natural gas pipeline project to North Coast.

Coastal GasLink stops work to investigate archaeological find

OGC archaeologists are en route to the Houston-area site where Unist’ot’en report finding stone tools

Province announces $100-million grant funding for Northwest communities

The Northern Capital and Planning Grant will go to four regional districts and 22 municipalities

UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples: The framework for reconciliation

Guest View from writers involved in the United Nations declaration.

Lego League provincial champions

Smithers’ Marley and Amelie are B.C. Lego League champions, and are fundraising to compete in Texas.

B.C. students win Great Waters Challenge video contest

Video, mural and song about saving the salmon claims the top prize

Cabinet likely to extend deadline to reconsider Trans Mountain pipeline

The can’t decide the pipeline’s fate until a new round of consultations with Indigenous communities

B.C. government provides $75,000 towards salmon study

Study looks at abundance and health of Pacific salmon in Gulf of Alaska

Murdered and missing honoured at Stolen Sisters Memorial March in B.C.

‘We come together to make change within the systems in our society’

UBC researchers develop inexpensive tool to test drinking water

The tricoder can test for biological contamination in real-time

Disgraced ex-Congressman Anthony Weiner released from prison

He was convicted of having illicit online contact with a 15-year-old North Carolina girl in 2017

B.C. communities push back against climate change damages campaign

Activists copying California case that was tossed out of court

Most Read