Supporters of Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs reported that Thursday around 10 a.m. the first demonstrators were arrested.
It was the fourth day of demonstrators occupying the BC legislature in solidarity with Wet’suwet’en hereditary who oppose the Coastal GasLink pipeline.
Two people were apparently using water-soluble chalk on and around the building and arrested by Legislature Security for mischief. VicPD told Black Press Media that Legislature Security members are police and can make legal arrests.
According to one of the demonstrators on site, it was made clear to security that the paint was soluble chalk, despite it looking like spray paint.
Arrested supporters have been released and banned from the property. Awaiting response from VicPD
— Indigenous Youth for Wet’suwet’en (@IY4wetsuweten) February 27, 2020
The two arrested people were taken into the legislature; legal observers were denied entrance to observe.
A tweet put up by the Indigenous Youth for Wet’suwet’en said that “arrested supporters have been released and banned from the property.”
— kendra crighton (@kendracrighton) February 27, 2020
“Today we decided to use chalk in spray cans to create a very powerful visual,” said demonstrator Ace Harry. “As expected, totally in line with history, they painted us as criminals, as violent and dissident. They arrested two of our supporters who were detained and pretty immediately released because it’s chalk and doesn’t violate any laws or injunctions.”
Ta’Kaiya Blaney called the arrests laughable, and a microcosm of what’s going on in Canada.
“I wish they came to our territories with chalk paint, I wish they treaded so lightly upon our land,” she said.
The Victoria Police Department said in an emailed statement that VicPD officers assisted the Legislature Assembly Protection Services (LAPS) officers and escorted the two people off of Legislature grounds.
“Protesters began applying a substance to the building, driveway and walkways just after 10 a.m. this morning. This occurred simultaneously at multiple locations around the Legislature building. Some of the messages include profanity,” wrote VicPD spokesperson Bowen Osoko.
“Two of the protesters were arrested for mischief and escorted from the grounds. Efforts to determine what the substance is and how to clean it are underway.”