After a series of demonstrations and the arrest of 13 pipeline protesters, the group opposing Coastal GasLink through Wet’suwet’en territory met outside the BC Legislature building Friday morning to tell the public they are not backing down. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)

After a series of demonstrations and the arrest of 13 pipeline protesters, the group opposing Coastal GasLink through Wet’suwet’en territory met outside the BC Legislature building Friday morning to tell the public they are not backing down. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)

VIDEO: Wet’suwet’en activists say Victoria arrests a ‘perpetuation of violence’

Group demonstrating in Victoria in protest of Coastal GasLink pipeline

Supporters of Wet’suwet’en First Nation members and hereditary chiefs in opposition of Coastal GasLink gathered at the BC Legislature building Friday morning with a message for the public.

“We’re not going to stop until we’re treated with the same equal rights as every person on this planet should be treated,” said Nabidu Musgwama Dzawada’enuxw, addressing the crowd gathered outside the government building.

The group came together after 13 people were arrested by members of the Victoria Police Department early Wednesday morning after occupying the lobby of the Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources on Blanshard Street for more than 15 hours.

The group was occupying the space in opposition of the Coastal GasLink pipeline, set to run through Wet’suwet’en territory. Activists said they were seeking confirmation that B.C. Premier John Horgan would meet with Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs.

READ ALSO: Protesters block entrance to Victoria government building to support Wet’suwet’en First Nation

In a statement about the arrests, VicPD said they worked with representatives from both the protest group and the province to find a peaceful resolution, using plainclothes community liaison officers to listen to and speak with participants.

Members of the group said they were initially denied access to food and water throughout the demonstration. VicPD denied those claims and said food and water were facilitated.

VicPD said after 15 hours, officers were asked to remove people from the building and made the arrests “under the lawful authority of the Trespass Act.”

“The minimum amount of force was utilized to effect the arrests,” VicPD said in the statement. “As such, the arrests took place over a four-hour period. During the arrests officers were required to carry protesters from the inside of the building to waiting police vehicles.”

‘Makwala (Dakota Smith) spoke to the crowd Friday morning saying the arrests fuel the group’s charge to support Wet’suwet’en First Nation members standing against Coastal GasLink.

“[The arrests] happened in downtown Victoria. We can only imagine what they are doing at Unist’ot’en and the Gidimt’en check points,” he said. “This violence has to stop. I am tired of watching my loved ones be abused.”

A group of Indigenous activists and allies met outside the BC Legislature building Friday morning for a press conference addressing the arrests of 13 protesters on Wednesday. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)

Activist Sii-am Hamilton was one of 13 arrested by VicPD.

“We were told that we were trespassing,” she told Black Press Media. “And I know that this is unceded Coast Salish territory and we are Coast Salish, so we’re not trespassers.”

Hamilton vocalized her frustration in an address to the crowd. “What happened two days ago is a perpetuation of violence my people have been experiencing since first contact,” she said. “What all the youth experienced that night is the legacy Canada has created. That is the relationship that Canada has with Indigenous people.”

READ ALSO: 12 Wet’suwet’en supporters arrested by VicPD

Hereditary chiefs have taken a stance in conflict with members of the Wet’suwet’en Band Council, some of which support the Coastal GasLink project – a 670-kilometre pipeline set to run from northeastern B.C. to LNG Canada’s export facility in Kitimat.

Coastal GasLink signed agreements with the 20 elected First Nation councils along the pipeline’s proposed path.



nina.grossman@blackpress.ca

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

Coastal GasLinkprotest

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

Just Posted

A large dog is in the possession of CRD Animal Control after it attacked a Langford mother and her child near Glen Lake on Nov. 19. (Black Press Media file photo)
Large dog attacks mother and child in Langford

Mother puts three-year-old on top of car to protect him

Saanich police Chief Constable Scott Green (right) stands with Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers program coordinators Phil Downie and Gill Millam who received a Crime Stoppers International award for their work in 2019. (Photo courtesy of the Saanich Police Department)
Victoria School for Ideal Education at 2820 Belmont Avenue is the second school in Greater Victoria with an active confirmed COVID-19 exposure. (Travis Paterson/News Staff)
Private school becomes second Greater Victoria school with COVID-19 exposure

Victoria School for Ideal Education follows Lakeview Christian School in Saanich

Brenda Schroeder thought she was reading it wrong when she won $100,000 from a Season’s Greetings Scratch & Win. (Courtesy BCLC)
New home on the agenda after scratch ticket win in Saanich

Victoria woman set to share her $100,000 Season’s Greetings lottery win

B.C. NDP Leader John Horgan votes at Luxton Hall during advance polls for the provincial election in Langford, B.C., Monday, Oct. 19, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
2020 provincial election sets historical low turnout

Just over 1.9 million registered voters cast ballots in 2020

Kyle Charles poses for a photo in Edmonton on Friday, Nov. 20, 2020. Marvel Entertainment, the biggest comic book publisher in the world, hired the 34-year-old First Nations illustrator as one of the artists involved in Marvel Voice: Indigenous Voices #1 in August. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
VIDEO: Indigenous illustrator of new Marvel comic hopes Aboriginal women feel inspired

Kyle Charles says Indigenous women around the world have reached out

B.C. Liberal MLA Shirley Bond questions NDP government ministers in the B.C. legislature, Feb. 19, 2020. (Hansard TV)
Cabinet veteran Shirley Bond chosen interim leader of B.C. Liberals

28-member opposition prepares for December legislature session

Motorists wait to enter a Fraser Health COVID-19 testing facility, in Surrey, B.C., on Monday, November 9, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
COVID-19: What do rising positivity rates mean for B.C.? It’s not entirely clear

Coronavirus cases are on the rise but the province has not unveiled clear thresholds for further measures

A rider carves a path on Yanks Peak Saturday, Nov. 21. Two men from Prince George went missing on the mountain the next day. One of them, Colin Jalbert, made it back after digging out his sled from four feet under the snow. The other, Mike Harbak, is still missing. Local search and rescue teams went out looking Monday, Nov. 23. (Sam Fait Photo)
‘I could still be the one out there’: Snowmobiler rescued, 1 missing on northern B.C. mountain

As Quesnel search and rescue teams search for the remaining rider, Colin Jalbert is resting at home

More than 70 anglers participated in the bar-fishing demonstration fishery on Sept. 9, 2020 on the Fraser River near Chilliwack. DFO officers ticketed six people and seized four rods. A court date is set for Dec. 1, 2020. (Jennifer Feinberg/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Anglers ticketed in Fraser River demonstration fishery heading to court

Sportfishing groups started a GoFundMe with almost $20K so far for legal defence of six anglers

Care home staff are diligent about wearing personal protective equipment when they are in contact with residents, but less so when they interact with other staff members, B.C. Seniors Advocate says. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young
More COVID-19 testing needed for senior home staff, B.C.’s advocate says

Employees mingling spotted as virus conductor in many workplaces

This 2019 photo provided by The ALS Association shows Pat Quinn. Quinn, a co-founder of the viral ice bucket challenge, died Sunday, Nov. 22, 2020, at the age of 37. (Scott Kauffman/The ALS Association via AP)
Co-founder of viral ALS Ice Bucket Challenge dies at 37

Pat Quinn was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s disease, also known as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, in 2013

Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada David Lametti speaks with the media following party caucus in Ottawa, Tuesday, January 28, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Exclusion of mental health as grounds for assisted death is likely temporary: Lametti

Senators also suggested the exclusion renders the bill unconstitutional

Most Read