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Court grants injunction against Wet’suwet’en supporters blocking B.C. ports

Click to play video: 'Protests over pipeline continue in Metro Vancouver' Protests over pipeline continue in Metro Vancouver
The battle over the Coastal GasLink pipeline continues to spill over into Metro Vancouver with a rally at Vancouver City Hall Sunday following days of port blockades. Grace Ke reports – Feb 9, 2020

A B.C. court has granted an injunction against protesters who have blocked ports in the Lower Mainland for four straight days in solidarity with Wet’suwet’en pipeline opponents.

The B.C. Maritime Employers Association said it was granted the injunction by a B.C. Supreme Court judge late Sunday afternoon and served it to the demonstrators at Deltaport and the Port of Vancouver at 5:30 p.m.

READ MORE: Deltaport shut down by protesters supporting Wet’suwet’en as blockades continue in B.C.

“While we respect the right to a peaceful protest, we need to ensure that our 7000 skilled waterfront employees are able to get to their place of work, safely perform their jobs and continue to support their families,” BCMEA president and CEO Mike Leonard said in a statement.

Protesters have been blocking three entrances to the Port of Vancouver since Thursday, when RCMP began enforcing a court injunction granted on Dec. 31 against Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs and other members in northern B.C.

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Click to play video: 'Rallies and protests held around B.C. in support of Wet’suwet’en blockade' Rallies and protests held around B.C. in support of Wet’suwet’en blockade
Rallies and protests held around B.C. in support of Wet’suwet’en blockade – Feb 7, 2020

On Saturday night, another group of protesters descended on the entrance to nearby Deltaport, which is Canada’s busiest port. The group stayed overnight and refused to allow workers into the area to start their shifts Sunday morning.

The Port of Vancouver and BCMEA say the actions have caused “significant impacts” to port operations in both Delta and Vancouver.

READ MORE: Wet’suwet’en supporters block Port of Vancouver for 3rd straight day, stalling port traffic

Leonard said the BCMEA would be working to restore operations “as soon as possible” at the ports.

The Red Braid Alliance for Decolonial Socialism, which organized the Deltaport protest, confirmed they had been served with the injunction but continued to highlight RCMP actions in the north.

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The Wet’suwet’en pipeline opponents, who refer to themselves as land defenders, are attempting to block construction of the Coastal GasLink natural gas pipeline at a worksite near Houston, B.C.

The RCMP enforcement, which has seen 21 arrests so far, has sparked solidarity protests throughout B.C. and across Canada, with demonstrators looking to “shut down Canada” by halting commercial traffic.

Protesters in Ontario have blocked Via Rail train service for three straight days, while freight train traffic has also been blocked in the province.

READ MORE: B.C. pipeline protests halt VIA trains in eastern Ontario for 3rd full day

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In Victoria, a group of Indigenous youth has refused to move from the steps of the B.C. legislature since Thursday, and have set up a tent city on the legislature lawn.

The $6.6-billion Coastal GasLink is intended to carry natural gas from northeastern B.C. to a massive new Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) export facility near Kitimat.

Twenty elected Indigenous councils along the route have signed agreements with the company, but opponents say only the hereditary chiefs have authority over unceded traditional territory.

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