A large demonstration of people are marching in support of the Wet’sutwet’en protests taking place across Canada on Monday.
Hundreds are joining in with the other railway blockades and protests being held in solidarity with the Wet’sutwet’en hereditary chiefs who oppose the 670-km Coastal GasLink pipeline.
The group began its march at Christie Pitts Park at 3 p.m. with a drum circle before they walked east on Bloor Street, with Queen’s Park being the ultimate destination.
Supporters told Global News the conversation has broadened to not just about Coastal GasLink pipeline— but about overall treatment of Canada’s Indigenous peoples.
Toronto police said traffic is being impacted on Bloor Street and officers are on scene assisting with the movement of the march.
S/B Bay St at College St
– birds eye view of demonstration from @TorontoPolice HQ
– officers o/s assisting with traffic & crowd control
– demonstrators have stopped at the intersection of Bay/College
– expect delays
– consider alternate routes#GO339896
— Toronto Police Operations (@TPSOperations) February 17, 2020
Chants of “You can’t drink oil, keep it in the soil” could be heard, however, the Coastal GasLink pipeline would be transporting gas, not oil.
Others held signs in support of the protests.
According to a Facebook post by “Families for Wet’suwet’en,” the protest is expected to go until 4:45/5 p.m.
Coastal GasLink has signed agreements with 20 elected Indigenous councils along the route but the $6.6-billion liquefied natural gas pipeline is opposed by the Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs, who claim rights over the unceded land the pipeline will pass through.
Earlier on Monday, the Thousand Islands Bridge U.S. border was closed due to a protest demonstration. By 3 p.m., the restrictions were lifted and traffic was able to resume.
Another group of protesters shut down a border crossing between Niagara Falls, Ont., and Niagara Falls, N.Y., Sunday, but left on their own accord.
Other solidarity protests, including a rail blockade in Tyendinaga territory near Belleville, Ont., have shut down train service across swaths of the country.
—With files from The Canadian Press
— Kamil Karamali (@KamilKaramali) February 17, 2020