Protesters took to the streets in Peterborough and continued to camp outside Peterborough-Kawartha MP Maryam Monsef‘s office on Wednesday morning as a show of solidarity with opponents of a pipeline project running through Wet’suwet’en First Nation in B.C.
Around 8:30 a.m., protesters gathered in the area of Nassau Mills and Armour roads in the city’s north end near Trent University to show support for those who oppose the Coastal GasLink pipeline project in B.C.
Rail blockades, also in solidarity with opponents of the pipeline project, began last Thursday in Tyendinaga Township, Ont., near Belleville and in New Hazelton, B.C. Via Rail has cancelled all passenger traffic between Montreal and Toronto, and Canadian National Railway has stopped more than 150 freight trains since last Thursday evening.
Trent University tweeted about traffic delays near the school’s south entrance along Water Street and advised students running late for classes or exams to contact their instructor.
The protesters cleared the area about an hour later, according to the Peterborough Police Service.
Meanwhile, about a dozen supporters in Peterborough continue to camp outside Monsef’s constituency office on 417 Bethune Street. They arrived at 9 a.m. on Tuesday and have been holding rallies and round dances.
Calling themselves “land defenders,” Thamer Linklater says the group is showing its opposition to RCMP, who have arrested 21 opponents of the pipeline near its construction site on Wet’suwet’en territory.
“We are prepared to stay here indefinitely until RCMP are off the (Wet’suwet’en) territory,” she said. “Because what is occurring is genocide and in direct violation of laws.”
On Wednesday morning, Crystal Hebert said the campout is to show solidarity for “brothers and sisters” who came before them and those to come.
“As land defenders, this work is necessary,” she said. “We have set a precedent as a country that has benefited from colonialism. We continue to build ourselves up on the degradation of brown bodies. The infringement of human rights and constant systemic racism that keeps Indigenous people oppressed, uneducated, poor and unsupported, is something we will continue to speak to and bring awareness to – it’s our responsibility.”
She said the public so far has been supportive in their lobby efforts.
“If you’re not mad, you’re not listening,” she said.
Global News has reached out to Monsef’s office for comment.
Around 5:45 p.m. Wednesday, an official noted Monsef’s Facebook statement in which she said she met with constituents about the Coastal GasLink Project and other issues.
“It was a thoughtful, respectful conversation that I will be reflecting in Ottawa,” she stated. “I will always defend such peaceful advocacy. Our government is monitoring this evolving situation closely and strongly encourage all parties to engage in open and respectful dialogue.”