***UPDATES AS OF 9:35PM 2/7/2020***
More arrests at 27KM checkpoint near Unist'ot'en Camp. RCMP now surrounding hereditary chiefs while maintaining exclusion zone up to the 4KM mark. Reports are sporadic but other land defenders are stepping up on social media to provide updates.
***UPDATES AS OF 3:45PM PST 2/7/2020***
RCMP continue with arrests. Meanwhile activists and supporters have blockaded the forest access road between the camp and the town of Houston.
***UPDATES AS OF 2:05PM PST 2/7/2020***
Arrests are being made at the Gidimt'en Camp. Twitter was down for about 45 minutes, so reports are just coming in now.
***UPDATES AS OF 1:15PM PST 2/7/2020***
RCMP are moving in on Gidimt'en Checkpoint and breaching the gate. Arrests are imminent. More rallies are happening across the country and several roads and train networks are being blocked by protestors.
***UPDATES AS OF 8:30AM PST 2/7/2020***
Heavy machinery and RCMP have reached the gate at the Gidim'ten Checkpoint and are lying in wait. Sources on the ground say another incursion is imminent. Reports from last night indicate that the RCMP have backed off their earlier aggression against reporters and are allowing them to remain within the checkpoint at 44KM. Meanwhile, rallies are ongoing across Canada and are now being organized globally as well. Stay tuned for more updates as they become available.
***UPDATES AS OF 9AM PST 2/6/2020***
All supporters and Wet'suwet'en members at the 39KM checkpoint have been arrested. Among those arrested were Vice Journalist Jesse Winter. Updates from Unist'ot'en Camp via their Facebook page, along with reports via Twitter.
Original article follows below
Well, it appears it was only a matter of time. The RCMP have announced that they intend to enforce the injunction granted by the BC Supreme Court last month, after negotiations between special envoy Nathan Cullen and the hereditary chiefs of the Wet'suwet'en Nations fell apart after just 2 days of talks. The Wet'suwet'en put out a statement reiterating their right to continue refusing to cooperate with the injunction, while the RCMP have attempted to assert that no violence will be used in the arrests.
Following this updated information, many activists and public figures spoke out against the RCMP and the provincial government, and even the federal government for its silence on the matter. Notably, in Question Period today, Taylor Bachrach, the NDP MP for Skeena-Bulkley Valley, had this to say to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau:
To the surprise of no one, Justin Trudeau punted responsibility back towards BC Premier John Horgan, reiterating his position that the pipeline project being undertaken by Coastal GasLink is in provincial jurisdiction and that he "trusts" the NDP government in BC to do what's right in this situation. Even less surprisingly, those statements were disputed on social media.
Folks who have been following this situation closely may remember this article from the Guardian a while back, where it was revealed that RCMP was having discussions about using lethal force against the Unist'ot'en Camp. This is precisely the kind of action that the Wet'suwet'en people are talking about, and it's also what the RCMP are continually denying will take place. Calls for the RCMP to stand down have been ramping up, and even NDP MP Leah Gazan has stated as much.
Leah Gazan defeated former Liberal MP Robert-Falcon Ouelette in the last federal election and is now representing Winnipeg Centre, the riding formerly held by outspoken NDP rabble rouser Pat Martin. Since becoming an MP, she has continued speaking up for Indigenous people and against injustices in the Canadian system. Gazan has also recently taken on the issue of racism in the Senate involving Senator Lynn Beyak, calling for her to be removed for her inappropriate behaviour and remarks following her expulsion from anti-racism training.
I recently had the opportunity to talk with Leah Gazan about her activism, the situation up north, and her experience so far in the House of Commons. An excerpt of our interview is below. But with time ticking away on the Wet'suwet'en and no resolution in sight, it appears that it will be too late for anyone to stop the RCMP from removing people from their lands. The BC government appears to have no intention on doing so, and the Gidimt'en Checkpoint members are out of legal options, at least for now. The world is certainly watching, and no matter what the RCMP or governments do, we'll ensure that actions have consequences.
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