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Indigenous youth occupy Melanie Mark’s office in support of Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs

Indigenous youth activists occupy MLA Melanie Mark's office in East Vancouver on Friday, Feb. 21, 2020. .
Indigenous youth activists occupy MLA Melanie Mark's office in East Vancouver on Friday, Feb. 21, 2020. . Global News

A group of two-spirit, queer and Indigenous youth occupied B.C. NDP Advanced Education Minister Melanie Mark’s East Vancouver constituency office on Friday.

The group said the occupation of the office at East 1st Avenue and Commercial Drive was in support of Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs in their dispute over the Coastal GasLink natural gas pipeline.

READ MORE: Trudeau says Wet’suwet’en solidarity blockades ‘need to come down now’

The group said it would not leave until Mark granted them a meeting.

Mark, who has Nisga’a, Gitxsan, Cree and Ojibway ancestry, was the first First Nations woman elected in B.C.’s legislature, and the first First Nations woman to serve in cabinet in B.C.

“We have dedicated our time to stay here until she agrees to have a meeting with us. We are concerned for our Wet’suwet’en relatives lives; they were recently removed from their land at gunpoint,” one of the youth told Global News.

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Anti-pipeline protesters occupy Attorney General’s office
Anti-pipeline protesters occupy Attorney General’s office

The group also demanded that Mark work to remove the RCMP from traditional Wet’suwet’en territory, and to end the construction of of the Coastal GasLink pipeline.

READ MORE: RCMP outpost remains in Wet’suwet’en territory, but plans ‘in motion’ to move officers

It also demanded that Premier John Horgan and relevant ministers meet with the Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs.

On Thursday, Hereditary Chief Na’moks told Global News he had no interest in meeting with provincial ministers, and wished to deal exclusively with the federal government.

READ MORE: Indigenous rights protesters storm B.C. attorney general’s office, target UBC

Vancouver police said they were monitoring the situation and was in touch with office staff.

Global News has requested comment from Mark.