Rally held at B.C. Legislature in support of anti-LNG protest camp
CTV Vancouver Island
Published Monday, January 7, 2019 10:02AM PST
Last Updated Tuesday, January 8, 2019 3:37PM PST
Hundreds of people rallied at the legislature in Victoria before marching to Finance Minister Carole James' office in support of Indigenous pipeline protesters in northern B.C.
The rally was organized as part of an "international day of action" to support members of the Wet'suwet'en First Nation, who are trying to block a liquefied natural gas pipeline from being built through their territory near Houston, B.C.
Dozens first gathered at the totem pole near the legislature before noon, and as the crowd grew to several hundreds, the group moved on to nearby Belleville Street, shutting it down to traffic.
"It is time that we make it difficult for the RCMP, it is time we make it difficult for this government," one man shouted through a megaphone as First Nations members chanted and pounded drums.
The group then moved to the steps of the legislature before make its way up Douglas Street just after 1 p.m. Finally, it headed up Fort Street to James' constituency office near Cook Street, shutting down Fort between Vancouver and Cook. There were reports some protesters then headed to the Victoria Courthouse, where they planned to camp out for 24 hours.
The protest largely appeared to be peaceful as police officers monitored the event.
It was held following the arrests of 14 people at the blockade near Houston Monday as Mounties enforced an injunction order at the Indigenous camp.
Members of the First Nation had set up a checkpoint and roadblocks in opposition to TransCanada's Coastal GasLink LNG pipeline being built on their traditional territory.
"The RCMP’s ultimatum, to allow TransCanada access to unceded Wet’suwet’en territory or face police invasion, is an act of war," said Jenniger Wickham, a member of the Gidimt'en clan of the Wet'suwet'en, in a statement to CTV News Monday.
RCMP said officers began talking with representatives of the camp in hopes the matter could be resolved without their involvement, but later proceeded to arrest members of the camp.
The Victoria protest was just one of many being held around the country Tuesday, including a massive protest held in Vancouver's Victory Square.