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Indigenous-led rolling blockade set to snarl Hwy. 401 traffic in London

Protesters gather on Colonel Talbot Road south of Highway 401, where an Indigenous-led rolling blockade is getting ready to travel to Six Nations of the Grand River.
Protesters gather on Colonel Talbot Road south of Highway 401, where an Indigenous-led rolling blockade is getting ready to travel to Six Nations of the Grand River. Andrew Graham / 980 CFPL

Ontario Provincial Police are warning motorists of possible traffic delays along highways 401 and 403 Monday morning as an Indigenous-led protest makes it way along the major roadways.

Officers say the protest may delay or interrupt the normal flow of traffic on area highways in Middlesex, Oxford and Brant counties.

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According to the Facebook group Idle No More – London, the protest is in solidarity with the Wet’suwet’en Nation, which is fighting for its traditional territories in B.C.’s northern Interior, where the province’s Supreme Court has ruled in favour of constructing the Coastal GasLink pipeline.

READ MORE: B.C. First Nation chiefs grant one-time access to pipeline worksite ahead of cold snap

“We are answering the national call out for solidarity actions in support of Wet’suwet’en,” said Idle No More London organizer Yeyatalunyuhe George in a news release.

The blockade will travel from London, Ont., to Six Nations of the Grand River, south of Brantford, according to the release.

Last week, police arrested Wet’suwet’en protesters in the midst of an injunction against the Wet’suwet’en Nation to clear the way for the construction of the Coastal GasLink pipeline.

Local chiefs are urging Coastal GasLink and RCMP officers in B.C. to immediately withdraw from the Wet’suwet’en territory, saying the invasion of their lands makes “a mockery of Canada’s reconciliation efforts.”

READ MORE: ‘The world is watching’ — B.C. pipeline opponents brace for possible police action

OPP have been working with the organizers of the protest in order to “provide a safe and peaceful opportunity for protesters to exercise their lawful rights,” officers said, adding their goal is to keep the safe flow of traffic and restore traffic flow when delays occur.

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Show of support for Wet’suwet’en protesters in downtown Vancouver
Show of support for Wet’suwet’en protesters in downtown Vancouver

A similar protest took place last year on Highway 401, with traffic being slowed down to anywhere between 50 and 60 kilometres per hour and backed up over 30 kilometres.

Monday’s protest is scheduled to get underway at 9 a.m.

— With files from Global News’ Jaclyn Carbone