For the sixth day in a row, protesters supporting First Nations opponents to a natural gas pipeline in northern B.C. have set up a blockade in Vancouver.
Protesters took over the intersection of Broadway and Cambie early Tuesday afternoon, blocking traffic in all four directions.
The first protest started Thursday afternoon, hours after RCMP officers near Houston, B.C. moved in to enforce a court injunction ordering members of the Wet’suwet’en and supporters remove a blockade stopping access to a natural gas pipeline work site. By Monday, 28 people were arrested.
Protesters blocked three access points at the Port of Vancouver over several days, until the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority got an injunction in B.C. Supreme Court to restore access to the port.
Vancouver police moved in on Monday morning and 43 people were arrested.
The protesters, however, have not been deterred and moved on to other locations in the city. A blockade was set up for several hours at Venables Street and Glen Drive Monday afternoon.
Tuesday’s blockade at Broadway and Cambie has caused traffic chaos along one of the city’s busiest corridors — Vancouver police are advising drivers to avoid the area and TransLink has been forced to divert several bus routes around the blockade.
“The RCMP have no jurisdiction, period. Wet’suwet’en land is unceded, it’s never been taken over by conquest, the land has never freely been given as a gift, the land has never been sold. So, they literally have no jurisdiction,” protester Herbert Varley told the Courier last week. “One thing that’s easy to forget if you’re not indigenous to these lands is that colonization isn’t something that happened 150 years ago — it’s going on today. It’s going on in Wet’suwet’en.”
Also on Tuesday, hundreds of protesters blocked the entrances to the B.C. legislature as Premier John Horgan's government was set to deliver its throne speech. Protesters, who have been camping outside the building since Friday, chanted "Shame" as politicians tried to enter the building with help from security.
Shaylynn Sampson, 20, said she and other demonstrators plan to remain outside the legislature until the province agrees to pressure the RCMP and a natural gas company to withdraw from Wet'suwet'en traditional territories in northern B.C.
"My ancestors have been doing this for hundreds of years. I'm willing to do this as long as it takes," said Sampson, who has Gitxsan and Wet'suwet'en heritage.
—With files from Drew Clarke and The Canadian Press