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

Victoria gets new collegiate baseball team, training facility

Golden Tide coach wants to see as many local kids play for the HarbourCats as possible

Severe thunderstorm watch in effect for Greater Victoria

Thunderstorm may produce strong wind gusts, large hail and heavy rain, warns Environment Canada

Sooke couple that owned Sooke Harbour House given $4 million after lengthy court case

B.C. Supreme Court rules in favour of Frederique and Sinclair Philip

Local MP Elizabeth May likes aspects of throne speech, but questions execution

According to May nobody is as ‘reckless’ as BC’s John Horgan in dismissing snap election

Sooke councillor pitches another way to improve transit

Coun. Jeff Bateman wants free passes for youth on local routes

B.C. reports 91 new cases as officials remain worried over ‘clusters of COVID-19

There have now been a total of 8,395 cases in B.C. since the pandemic began

Canada’s active COVID-19 cases top 10,000 as daily new cases triple over the past month

Dr. Tam repeated her warning to young people, who have made up the majority of recent cases

First 8 months of fatal overdoses in B.C. have now exceeded 2019 death toll

Nine people died every two days in August, BC Coroners Service data shows

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Liberal effort to reset policy agenda panned by rivals as too much talk, not action

Trudeau said it’s ‘all too likely’ families won’t be able to gather for Thanksgiving next month

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

‘Show us the money’ for cannabis, local governments tell B.C.

Municipal tax, transit revenues falling as costs rise

Cops for Cancer: COVID-19 can’t stop Tour de Rock

‘having the chance to come back and ride this year means everything to me’

People ‘disgusted’ by COVID-19 election call, B.C. Liberal leader says

Andrew Wilkinson speaks to municipal leaders from Victoria

Most Read