With heavily armed tactical units brought in by helicopter and a vehicle convoy, the RCMP breached the Gidimt’en checkpoint to continue the raid on unceded Wet’suwet’en territory, which began yesterday. Four people were arrested.
The RCMP is enforcing a B.C. court injunction granted to pipeline company Coastal GasLink to allow its workers access to the area. Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs are staunchly opposed to the pipeline.
Our first raw video from today's raid and arrests at Gidimt’en checkpoint - captured by Jerome Turner. This was one of the scenes many didn't want you to see.— Ricochet (@ricochet_en) February 8, 2020
Stay tuned Saturday for more videos, photos, and updates on the siege in #Wetsuweten territory. #cdnpoli #PressFreedom pic.twitter.com/T6c9zMudZ8
“This is Wet’suwet’en territory. We are unarmed. We are peaceful,” Eve Saint, daughter of Wet’suwet’en hereditary chief Woos, said to approaching officers while holding a feather.
“This is unceded territory. This is the territory of Woos. I am his daughter. You are invaders. You are not allowed here. You are not welcome.”
“Tell me how this is different than 150 years ago, when you first came here. This is no different,” another voice from the Wet’suwet’en side said.
RCMP Sgt. James Paulsen used a megaphone to read the injunction and instruct people to desist and not block officers.
Officers were armed with rifles, which they pointed at people, including journalist Jerome Turner. They stopped after he identified himself.
Two of three camps raided
The Gidim’ten checkpoint is located at the 44-kilometre mark, on the Morice Forest Service Road, the only road leading into the area.
Yesterday police raided a Wet’suwet’en camp at the 39-kilometre mark. They arrested six people, all of whom were later released. A third camp, where the Unist’ot’en Healing Centre is situated, sits at kilometre 66.
Police officers are clearing Wet’suwet’en people and supporters from camps and homes in the area to make way for Coastal GasLink workers.
Premier John Horgan has said he is following the “rule of law” in reference to the injunction, but the legal picture surrounding the Coastal GasLink pipeline — which includes the Wet’suwet’en system of governance, a Supreme Court of Canada decision recognizing Wet’suwet’en title, and the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples — is more complicated than that.
As today’s raid was underway, Indigenous youth led a protest on the steps of the B.C. legislature in Victoria for the second straight day. Other actions in solidarity with the Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs and against the RCMP raid took place in locations across Canada, including outside Parliament in Ottawa.
- Press freedom in Wet’suwet’en territory: RCMP back down
- RCMP raid Wet’suwet’en camps
- Untangling ‘the rule of law’ in the Coastal GasLink pipeline standoff
- RCMP says helicopters can go into Wet’suwet’en territory but cannot bring passengers
- RCMP denies restricting air traffic into Wet’suwet’en territory, but local companies say otherwise