Solidarity rail blockade launched in Hamilton after OPP arrests in Tyendinaga

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Protesters establish rail blockade in Hamilton after OPP arrests in Tyendinaga
WATCH ABOVE: Protesters in Hamilton setup a rail blockade hours after the Ontario Provincial Police dismantled a nearly three-week blockade in Tyendinaga Mohawk territory on Monday – Feb 24, 2020

Protesters have established a rail blockade in Hamilton hours after Ontario Provincial Police dismantled a nearly three-week blockade in Tyendinaga. The blockade is still up as of Tuesday morning.

According to a post on the Wet’suwet’en Strong: Hamilton in Solidarity Facebook group, the blockade began at 5 p.m. ET on Monday “in response to the OPP raid on Tyendinaga.”

“Our intention is to stay here indefinitely and we are calling on others to join us,” the post said.

“Come for a couple hours or stay for the night, and bring your friends!”

The Facebook post linked to the website North Shore Counter-Info, which is described as “an anarchist and anti-authoritarian news” site.

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The website post said the solidarity blockade is happening on rail tracks just east of York Boulevard and north of the Desjardins Canal.

The blockade meant GO Transit suspended evening peak period train service into Hamilton and West Harbour GO stations or serve Niagara Region, a spokesperson for Metrolinx told Global News. Affected trains were stopped at Aldershot GO station, and shuttle buses brought commuters into Hamilton.

“It’s a new day, and we started it by burning the injunction delivered by CN rail,” the Facebook group posted in an update at 8:43 a.m. Tuesday.

On Tuesday morning, GO Transit said trains will not be able to service Niagara Falls GO, St. Catharines GO, Hamilton GO or West Harbour GO stations on Tuesday morning due to the ongoing rail blockade.

“We are still blocked from going beyond Aldershot GO station,” Metrolinx spokesperson Anne Marie Aikins said.

Commuters will have to board trains at Aldershot or Burlington GO stations. Shuttle buses have are running between the affected stations and there will be extra staff present.

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Via Rail and Amtrak also utilize the rail corridor and the blockade is located a short distance northwest of the CN Rail freight yard.

A CN Rail spokesperson told Global News staff were monitoring the situation.

A Hamilton police spokesperson confirmed officers were near the scene “to ensure there is public safety”. The spokesperson said no one was arrested.

The arrests in Tyendinaga came after a midnight deadline imposed by the OPP. In all, 10 people were charged on Monday — all of whom were later released on conditions.

The blockade near Belleville was established on Feb. 6 in a show of support for the hereditary chiefs of the Wet’suwet’en Nation, who oppose the construction of a massive natural gas pipeline on their territory in B.C.

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The Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs say the pipeline cannot proceed without their consent, despite the fact Coastal GasLink has received support from a number of other elected band councils along the 670-kilometre pipeline.

Solidarity blockades and protests have since developed in different parts of Canada.

Not far from Hamilton, OPP shut down the Highway 6 bypass in Caledonia as several protesters gathered on the road. That road is still blocked as of Tuesday morning.

— With files from Rachael D’Amore

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