For the second week in a row, supporters of Wet’suwet’en Nation blocked off Albert Memorial Bridge, in solidarity with protests happening across the country.
“We’re hoping to send a clear message to the Regina public that we are not in agreement with what’s happening there,” said Wendy Lynn Lerat, a co-organizer of the protest. “There’s growing support and we’re doing our part.”
On Saturday, protesters held hands for a round dance while others formed a barricade to block traffic from driving through the Albert Street bridge. They eventually marched north on Albert Street to about 14th Avenue. Police were there to assist the flow of traffic.
“We’re not doing this to make people feel inconvenienced,” said Lerat. “We’re hoping by being confronted by a blockade, you’ll be reminded of a history that no one reminds you of enough.”
“Not everyone wants the kind of development colonialism has brought us. We’re seeing incredible destruction across the world and ecosystems that are in jeopardy and will never recover.”
Protesters are standing with Wet’suwet’en Nation in British Columbia where some hereditary chiefs oppose the construction of the Coastal GasLink pipeline. Protests continue to pop-up daily throughout Canada, from Newfoundland to British Columbia — with protesters blocking off railways, city intersections and ports.
Lerat said the protests will persist until sovereignty is addressed.
“The messaging needs to switch to recognize the need to have a different narrative. What’s happening in Wet’suwet’en is a reflection in the sickness and desire for change in general society,” Lerat said.
She said Regina protesters want the government to recognize Indigenous sovereignty, and until they do, rallies will continue to grow.
“It’s not so much to cause inconvenience or get a violent reaction like last time. But we’re hoping they’ll be an opportunity in the near future to collectively say ‘What do we need to do differently here.’”
“All of Canada is hurting. The economy is slowing down and everyone knows the reports about supply shortages,” Miller told reporters.
Following his meeting with the First Nation, Miller said he has a message to deliver to the prime minister and cabinet.
“I’ve had some great conversations, some very tough ones and some very serious ones, and that’s what I’m going to take back to the prime minister and cabinet tonight and then we’ll move forward in respect and peace.”
—With files from The Canadian Press.