BC Legislature fountain runs red on fifth day of sit-in

Indigenous land protectors, demonstrators and allies rallied outside the BC Legislature building Monday afternoon on the eve of the throne speech, scheduled for Tuesday morning. The group filled the government building’s fountain with red dye as a representation of “blood on the colonial government’s hands.” (Nina Grossman/News Staff)
Indigenous land protectors, demonstrators and allies rallied outside the BC Legislature building Monday afternoon on the eve of the throne speech, scheduled for Tuesday morning. The group filled the the government building’s fountain with red dye as a representation of “blood on the colonial government’s hands.” (Nina Grossman/News Staff)
Indigenous land protectors, demonstrators and allies rallied outside the BC Legislature building Monday afternoon on the eve of the throne speech, scheduled for Tuesday morning. The group filled the government building’s fountain with red dye as a representation of “blood on the colonial government’s hands.” (Nina Grossman/News Staff)
Indigenous land protectors and allies rallied outside the BC Legislature building Monday afternoon on the eve of the throne speech, scheduled for Tuesday morning. The group filled the government building’s fountain with red dye as a representation of “blood on the colonial government’s hands.” (Nina Grossman/News Staff)
Indigenous land protectors, demonstrators and allies rallied outside the BC Legislature building Monday afternoon on the eve of the throne speech, scheduled for Tuesday morning. The group filled the government building’s fountain with red dye as a representation of “blood on the colonial government’s hands.” (Nina Grossman/News Staff)

Red was the theme of a rally that took over the BC Legislature building Monday afternoon.

Red dresses were strewn across the lawn and lamps of the provincial landmark – a symbol of Canada’s missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls – and red dye was poured into the fountain as a visual marker of “blood on the colonial government’s hands.”

It was the fifth day of a sit-in on the Legislature’s front steps, and a coalition of Indigenous youth, demonstrators and allies rallied again in support of Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs opposing Coastal GasLink through their community’s 22,000 square kilometres of unceded territory. The occupying group of about 30 Indigenous youth say they won’t leave their post until RCMP leave Wet’suwet’en territory.

RELATED: Six arrested as RCMP enforce injunction at Wet’suwet’en anti-pipeline camps

Spokesperson Nikki Sanchez said the group is both vigilant and anxious as news of more than one dozen arrests come down from the northern community, where RCMP enforced an injunction on the protest camp of hereditary chiefs and supporters blocking the natural gas project from their traditional territory – a stance in stark contrast to the five Wet’suwet’en band councils supporting the 670-kilometre Coastal GasLink pipeline.

The Hereditary chiefs and their supporters say the community’s elected officials only have authority over reserve lands, since their power was created through the Indian Act.

The Victoria group has been occupying the steps of the Legislature for nearly 100 hours in support of the hereditary Wet’suwet’en leaders.

“Over ten different nations of youth are sitting together and people are sharing their songs and sharing their teachings and sharing their medicines. And that is an incredibly beautiful thing,”she said. “But it’s really a combination of the sadness in our hearts and the heartbreak we feel that we have to actually, in 2020 – in an era of so-called reconciliation – watch this play out in the same way that Oka played out, in the same way that Gustafsen Lake played out….These people on their own territory, on their sovereign lands are being treated as enemies of the state.”

RELATED: 13 Wet’suwet’en supporters arrested by VicPD

A portion of the group at the Legislature building moved downtown and blocked both the Johnson Street Bridge and Point Ellice Bridge Monday evening. Those groups were separate from those occupying the BC Legislature building, who say the bridge-blocking demonstrators were mainly non-Indigenous grassroots movements in support of the same cause.

The Indigenous group has plans to rally again Tuesday during the 2020 speech from the throne at the BC Legislature building. The Tuesday rally is expected to include words from Stewart Phillip, president of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs (UBCIC) and Don Tom, UBCIC vice president.

Premier John Horgan has said the pipeline – part of a $40-billion LNG Canada export terminal project – offers vital economic and social support to northern B.C. The pipeline has received approval from 20 elected First Nations councils along its proposed route.

RELATED: Supporters of Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs plan to stay at Legislature for ‘as long as necessary’

With files from Nicole Crescenzi, Ashley Wadhwani and the Canadian Press.



nina.grossman@blackpress.ca

Follow us on Instagram
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Recent arrests skim surface of Victoria’s human trafficking problem

Port city makes desirable place for traffickers flying under the radar

Two-vehicle crash in Langford sends one to hospital Monday morning

Driver sent to hospital with unspecified injuries

Victoria Canadian Forces member honored with exceptional Rotary Club award

Capt. Jacqueline Zweng is the Western Canada Ambassador of Wounded Warriors Canada

Oak Bay athletes rule the slopes at Island ski and snowboard series

Oak Bay boys take top ski, snowboard honours

B.C. budget expected to stay the course as economic growth moderates

Finance minister said ICBC costs have affected budget

VIDEO: Ottawa wants quick, peaceful resolution to pipeline protests, Trudeau says

The protests have manifested themselves as blockades on different rail lines across the country

Canucks acquire forward Tyler Toffoli from Kings in push for playoffs

Vancouver sends Schaller, Madden, pick to L.A.

New highway proposed between Alberta and B.C.

The route would connect Red Deer to Kamloops

Wet’suwet’en and B.C. government have been talking Aboriginal title for a year

Coastal GasLink says it has agreements with all 20 elected First Nations councils along the 670-kilometre route

Trudeau tightlipped on plan to end protests ‘quickly and peacefully’

The prime minister, who cancelled a two-day trip to Barbados this week to deal with the crisis at home

Canadian standards for coronavirus protection to be reviewed, health agency says

The protocols set out how health workers should protect themselves and their patients

Monday marks one-year anniversary of man missing from Langley

42-year-old B.C. man, Searl Smith, was last seen leaving Langley Memorial Hospital on Feb. 17, 2019

Amtrak warns of delays as railways from Seattle to B.C. blocked by Wet’suwet’en supporters

Coastal GasLink said it’s signed benefits agreements with all 20 elected band councils along pipeline route

Federal emergency group meets on pipeline protests as rail blockades continue

There’s mounting political pressure for Trudeau to put an end to the blockades

Most Read