After a series of demonstrations and the arrest of 13 pipeline protesters, the group opposing Coastal GasLink through Wet’suwet’en territory met outside the BC Legislature building Friday morning to tell the public they are not backing down. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)

VIDEO: Wet’suwet’en activists say Victoria arrests a ‘perpetuation of violence’

Group demonstrating in Victoria in protest of Coastal GasLink pipeline

Supporters of Wet’suwet’en First Nation members and hereditary chiefs in opposition of Coastal GasLink gathered at the BC Legislature building Friday morning with a message for the public.

“We’re not going to stop until we’re treated with the same equal rights as every person on this planet should be treated,” said Nabidu Musgwama Dzawada’enuxw, addressing the crowd gathered outside the government building.

The group came together after 13 people were arrested by members of the Victoria Police Department early Wednesday morning after occupying the lobby of the Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources on Blanshard Street for more than 15 hours.

The group was occupying the space in opposition of the Coastal GasLink pipeline, set to run through Wet’suwet’en territory. Activists said they were seeking confirmation that B.C. Premier John Horgan would meet with Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs.

READ ALSO: Protesters block entrance to Victoria government building to support Wet’suwet’en First Nation

In a statement about the arrests, VicPD said they worked with representatives from both the protest group and the province to find a peaceful resolution, using plainclothes community liaison officers to listen to and speak with participants.

Members of the group said they were initially denied access to food and water throughout the demonstration. VicPD denied those claims and said food and water were facilitated.

VicPD said after 15 hours, officers were asked to remove people from the building and made the arrests “under the lawful authority of the Trespass Act.”

“The minimum amount of force was utilized to effect the arrests,” VicPD said in the statement. “As such, the arrests took place over a four-hour period. During the arrests officers were required to carry protesters from the inside of the building to waiting police vehicles.”

‘Makwala (Dakota Smith) spoke to the crowd Friday morning saying the arrests fuel the group’s charge to support Wet’suwet’en First Nation members standing against Coastal GasLink.

“[The arrests] happened in downtown Victoria. We can only imagine what they are doing at Unist’ot’en and the Gidimt’en check points,” he said. “This violence has to stop. I am tired of watching my loved ones be abused.”

A group of Indigenous activists and allies met outside the BC Legislature building Friday morning for a press conference addressing the arrests of 13 protesters on Wednesday. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)

Activist Sii-am Hamilton was one of 13 arrested by VicPD.

“We were told that we were trespassing,” she told Black Press Media. “And I know that this is unceded Coast Salish territory and we are Coast Salish, so we’re not trespassers.”

Hamilton vocalized her frustration in an address to the crowd. “What happened two days ago is a perpetuation of violence my people have been experiencing since first contact,” she said. “What all the youth experienced that night is the legacy Canada has created. That is the relationship that Canada has with Indigenous people.”

READ ALSO: 12 Wet’suwet’en supporters arrested by VicPD

Hereditary chiefs have taken a stance in conflict with members of the Wet’suwet’en Band Council, some of which support the Coastal GasLink project – a 670-kilometre pipeline set to run from northeastern B.C. to LNG Canada’s export facility in Kitimat.

Coastal GasLink signed agreements with the 20 elected First Nation councils along the pipeline’s proposed path.



nina.grossman@blackpress.ca

Follow us on Instagram
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Coastal GasLinkprotest

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Lake Kathlyn school sold to unknown buyer

The 11.64-acre property was listed in mid-January for an asking price of $1.1 million.

Bachrach rejects calls for police action against demonstrators

Skeena-Bulkley Valley MP says only way out of crisis is “true nation-to-nation” talks

Coast Mountain College appoints a new president

The promotion came from within the school

Pipeline dispute: Tories put no-confidence motion on House of Commons agenda

Conservatives say they have no confidence in the Trudeau government to end the rail blockades

VIDEO: 7 things you need to know about the 2020 B.C. budget

Surplus of $227 million with big spending on infrastructure and capital projects

Galchenyuk nets shootout winner as Wild edge Canucks 4-3

Vancouver tied with Calgary for second spot in NHL’s Pacific Division

B.C.’s soda drink tax will help kids lose weight, improve health, says doctor

Dr. Tom Warshawski says studies show sugary drinks contribute to obesity

A&W employees in Ladysmith get all-inclusive vacation for 10 years of service

Kelly Frenchy, Katherine Aleck, and Muriel Jack are headed on all-expenses-paid vacations

B.C. mom’s complaint about ‘R word’ in children’s ministry email sparks review

In 2020, the ‘R’ word shouldn’t be used, Sue Robins says

B.C., federal ministers plead for meeting Wet’suwet’en dissidents

Scott Fraser, Carolyn Bennett says they can be in Smithers Thursday

Province shows no interest in proposed highway between Alberta and B.C.

Province says it will instead focus on expanding the Kicking Horse Canyon to four lanes

First case of COVID-19 in B.C. has fully recovered, health officer says

Three other cases are symptom-free and expected to test negative soon

Budget 2020: Weaver ‘delighted,’ minority B.C. NDP stable

Project spending soars along with B.C.’s capital debt

Most Read