Access to the Swartz Bay ferry terminal were blocked by protesters in support of the Wet’suwet’en First Nation on Jan. 20, 2020. (Courtesy of Kolin Sutherland-Wilson)

BC Ferries gets injunction against demonstrations in solidarity with Wet’suwet’en

The preemptive injunction is a ‘last resort in the interest of public safety,’ spokesperson says

BC Ferries says it has been granted an injunction against demonstrators wishing to protest a natural gas pipeline project in Northern B.C.

BC Ferries spokesperson Deborah Marshall said Saturday that the company sought the injunction after being made aware of a demonstration planned at the Swartz Bay ferry terminal over the Family Day long weekend.

This comes after supporters of the Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs’ opposition to the Coastal GasLink pipeline blocked the Swartz Bay ferry terminal on Jan. 20. Drivers weren’t allowed to pass from 6 a.m. to 9 a.m. and several sailings were cancelled.

Marshall noted that the company sought the injunction as a “last resort in the interest of public safety.”

READ ALSO: One-sailing wait from Swartz Bay ferry terminal after morning protest

If anyone who goes against the injunction and impedes ferry services, “enforcement action would be in hands of police,” Marshall said.

The company is focused on ensuring that staff and passengers are safe and can continue to access the terminals, Marshall said, pointing out that BC Ferries provides an “essential service.”

“BC Ferries respects the rights of individuals to peacefully express their views, as long as their actions do not jeopardize the safety of themselves, our customers, employees and the general public.”

Marshall emphasized that there are plans to create “demonstration zones” for people to express their views in a location that is still “highly visible” but does not block access to the terminal.

More to come.


@devonscarlett
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devon.bidal@saanichnews.com

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