At least four people were arrested on the second day of the RCMP’s enforcement of a court order related to the Coastal GasLink natural gas pipeline near Houston.
Gidimt’en clan member and media spokesperson Jen Wickham says two protesters were taken into custody as Mounties removed the gates at the Gidimt’en checkpoint on the Morice West Forest Service Road early Friday afternoon.
In a video posted by demonstrator Anne Spice, a number of RCMP officers in tactical gear are seen, some carrying assault rifles.
“By the time we left the camp, there were two under arrest and there were still four more within the building,” hereditary chief Na’Moks told The Interior News.
Just before 5 p.m., the RCMP released a statement, saying officers reached the checkpoint at 8:30 that morning and read out the court order to the protesters gathered there.
“During the course of seven hours, several individuals refused to leave the area, with one climbing a tree and others securing themselves inside a bus and on a tower,” the statement said.
“Officers also noticed that the Lamprey Creek Bridge support beams appear to have been cut and the bridge is unsafe for all traffic, including foot traffic.”
The statement said police will investigate it as either a crime of mischief or the use of traps likely to cause bodily harm.
Two people were arrested around 1:30 p.m., police said, and another two at 3:30 p.m. They were all taken to the Houston detachment.
According to the Unist’ot’en checkpoint’s social media, more than 20 Wet’suwet’en and supporter vehicles had amassed at the 27-kilometre mark to effectively block off the exit route to RCMP vehicles that were down the road enforcing the court order.
The RCMP’s statement did not comment on the Unist’ot’en checkpoint.
A day earlier, police set up a large exclusionary zone as part of the court injunction against the protesters, so that Coastal GasLink staff could work on the pipeline that goes through traditional Wet’suwet’en territory.
Six people were arrested when they refused to leave and were taken to the Houston RCMP detachment before being released without charge.
Earlier this week, the Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs and the province failed to reach an agreement after a round of talks.