‘We are not here to get killed’: Wet’suwet’en solidarity actions met with armed police response
RCMP tear down Gitxsan rail blockade in New Hazelton, B.C., while people across Canada organize...
On Sunday, Nov. 14, pipeline company Coastal GasLink was given eight hours to immediately evacuate Gidimt’en clan territory near Houston, B.C. Hereditary chiefs served the mandatory order for all company workers and sub-contractors.
Wet’suwet’en Hereditary Dinï ze’ (Chief) Woos, Frank Alec, granted a two hour extension to the evacuation timeline, but of the estimated 500 individuals housed at Coastal GasLink’s two remote work camps, only a handful left. Since then, land defenders seized a Coastal GasLink excavator and bulldozer and used them to dismantle parts of the Morice Forest Service Road, the main point of access to project sites and work camps.
The Gidimt’en clan and supporters have occupied a Coastal GasLink drill site near the Wedzin Kwa, or Morice River, to prevent drilling under the glacial river, since Sept. 25, 2021.
Gidimt’en camp spokesperson Sleydo’ Molly Wickham said inaction from B.C. and the federal government and failure to address and resolve Right and Title claims forced land defenders to take matters into their own hands and enforce an eviction order originally issued on Jan. 4, 2020, by Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs, who oppose construction of the 670-kilometre pipeline.
“We were sending a clear message to the province, to Canada, and they weren’t acting on it — they weren’t hearing what we were saying — so we had to get a little bit louder,” Wickham told The Narwhal in an interview. “They’re destroying absolutely everything that is important to us in our territory. And they have been continuing to do work, despite the eviction order last year.”
Opposition to any pipeline’s construction has been strong from the Wet’suwet’en and their supporters for well over a decade. In December of 2019, a court issued an injunction against blockaders, giving RCMP officers authorization to make dozens of arrests last year, when land defenders blockaded the road and prevented work by the pipeline company and contractors.
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