The RCMP have breached a gate that a northern B.C. First Nation had erected to block access to a natural-gas pipeline project.
Members of the Gidimt'en clan of the Wet'suwet'en First Nation set up a camp and a checkpoint along the Morice West Service Road in the town of Houston, blocking access to TransCanada's planned Coastal GasLink project.
It's meant to keep workers away from the construction site for TransCanada PipeLine Ltd.'s 670-kilometre Coastal GasLink pipeline, in the works since 2012.
The company says it has signed agreements with all First Nations along the route for LNG Canada's $40-billion liquefied natural gas project in Kitimat, but demonstrators argue Wet'suwet'en house chiefs, who are hereditary rather than elected, have not given consent.
The mood at the rally was one of determination, as the group showed solidarity with the Wet'suwet'en First Nation.
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In an amended injunction order filed Friday, a B.C. Supreme Court justice said the defendants, which include anyone "occupying, obstructing, blocking, physically impeding or delaying access" in the area, have until January 31 to file a response to Coastal GasLink's injunction application.
It was a jarring scene on the Wet'suwet'en territory on Monday.
"They said that they would have to talk to the commander of operations".
Officers are now speaking at the Morice West Forest Service Road bridge's fortified checkpoint created by the protesters.
"What happened today is that our trespass laws were broken, but according to Canadian law, which is being steered by industry, they say that these people are now criminals", said Wet'suwet'en Chief Namoks streamed on Facebook Live. The defendants are also prohibited from threatening, intimidating or getting within 10 metres of anyone actively working on the project.
In a statement, RCMP said officers spoke with representatives of the camp about the removal of the roadblock but realized the situation could not be resolved and took action.
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The RCMP says the zone remains in place and will be consistently re-assessed.
The 14 people were arrested for various offences including alleged violations of the injunction order, said police.
Indigenous resistance fighters and their allies are anxious that an RCMP raid is imminent, as police have gathered in Smithers, B.C., and Houston, B.C., the two closest towns to the Gidimt'en checkpoint.
After much anticipation this morning (Monday), several RCMP officers have met with campers near Houston.
In a video posted online earlier in the day Molly Wickham, spokeswoman for the Cas Yex house, which is part of the Gidimt'en clan, said, "We're doing everything that we can to make sure that we're going to be safe".
"We are proud of the people who were arrested because they did the right thing".
"There will be no reconciliation in Canada unless and until there is a real nation to nation relationship where Canada respects our sovereign jurisdiction and returns a fair portion of our lands and resources back to us", she said.
The elected councils of the 20 First Nations along the pipeline route have signed agreements supporting the project.
Yan Roberts asked as North Bay joined about two dozen other communities across the country to protest the RCMP's actions.
The Gidimt'en set up a gate in December in support of an anti-pipeline camp that members of the Unist'ot'en, another Wet'suwet'en clan, established years ago.
In an open letter issued Tuesday, Coastal GasLink president Rick Gateman said the company took legal action as a last resort and while it respects the rights of people to peacefully express their points of view, safety is a key concern.