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Protesters slow down traffic near Balcarres in 'solidarity with Wet'suwet'en'
REGINA -- Protesters slowed down and momentarily stopped traffic on Highway 10 east of Balcarres near the turn off towards Peepeekisis Cree Nation.
The protest was in response to arrests made by the RCMP along the planned route of the Coastal GasLink pipeline near Houston, B.C.
RCMP members were on hand at the local protest.
On early Thursday morning, RCMP arrested about six people who have set up camps along the Morice West Forest Service Road where the liquefied natural gas pipeline is to be build. RCMP is enforcing a court injunction against the Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs and their people.
Organizer Christine Deiter is one of more than 30 people who gathered on the highway for two hours holding a sign which read, “Solidarity with Wet’suwet’en”.
Other members in the group held up the Treaty 4 and Mohawk Nation flags.
“We decided to come together and support our brothers and sisters in Wet’suwet’en,“ said Dieter.
“We came out to slow down the traffic and let the people know that we are in support of Wet’suwet’en. We told the people why they were slowing down. What is happening in BC is almost like out of the script of the movie Avatar. I really believe that the corporations bought the RCMP in order to get the people out of their own territory,” she said.
Coastal GasLink has agreements with all 20 elected First Nations Governments along the pipeline’s proposed route but it does not have the support of Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs.
While the elected leaders have authority over reserve land under the Indian Act, hereditary chiefs in many First Nations, including We’suwet’en have responsibility for a broader territory on their traditional lands. Dieter says Indigenous people should not be arrested for protecting their home lands.
“That’s another injustice for our Indigenous people of Canada and we’re here to say no more. It’s got to stop sometime. Wet’suwet’en woke up a lot of people to see (the arrests) too. It woke up so many warriors out there. Today our males stood up to protect us and it made me feel really good that the men were taking a lead on this,” said Dieter.
The protest is just one of many that has been planned across the country which include East Hastings Street in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside and the blocking of train VIA Rail tracks in Ontario.
Dieter says there is many more planned protests in the coming weeks.