Several downtown streets and intersections were briefly closed early Wednesday afternoon by members of local Indigenous communities.
The demonstration was organized to show solidarity with the Wet’suwet’en First Nation of northern British Columbia, who are currently protesting the construction of the Coastal GasLink pipeline through their lands.
The protest on Wednesday through the core was one of over 50 held across the country this week.
The Wet’suwet’en set up blockade on a forest service road in northern B.C. that prevented access to the Coastal GasLink natural gas pipeline.
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RCMP arrested 14 people at the blockade on Monday, after TC Energy was granted a court injunction to begin work on the project. The pipeline is intended to carry natural gas from fracking projects in the Peace Region to the future $40-billion LNG Canada plant in Kitimat.
TC Energy says all the elected Wet’suwet’en band councils support the pipeline, but the First Nation’s hereditary chiefs oppose its construction through their traditional territories.
Grand Chief of the Association of Iroquois and Allied Indians Joel Abram was very proud of the turnout downtown on Wednesday.
“It’s very good to see people out here supporting [Wet’suwet’en] because everyone saw it,” Abram said.
“These people are just trying to defend the land and the environment, and I think every Canadian would agree that you should have the right to defend your land.”
The demonstration temporarily halted traffic at several downtown intersections, including Queens and Talbot, which is the location of the RCMP’s London office.
Organizers aren’t ruling out further demonstrations in the coming weeks and months.
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