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Vancouver police arrest 6 blockaders defying injunction outside Port of Vancouver

Police make arrests at Port of Vancouver protest
WATCH: Protests continue as the battle over the Coastal GasLink pipeline in northern B.C. rages on, and as Catherine Urquhart reports, police moved in Tuesday and arrested activists who defied an injunction by blocking an entrance to the Port of Vancouver.

Vancouver police have arrested six people at a blockade of the Port of Vancouver.

Dozens of demonstrators descended on the intersection of Clark Drive and East Hastings Street around 1 p.m. Monday in violation of a court order to keep port access clear.

The group stayed the night, and lit what they called a sacred fire on one corner of the intersection.

Protesters block traffic at Hastings Street and Clark Drive
Protesters block traffic at Hastings Street and Clark Drive

About 70 Vancouver police officers surrounded the intersection shortly after noon on Tuesday, and read the injunction aloud and distributed copies to protesters.

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READ MORE: Solidarity rail blockade launched in Hamilton after OPP arrests in Tyendinaga

Officers used a megaphone to warn protesters that anyone who refused to clear the road would be arrested.

Supporters gathered on the street corners shouted “Shame!” and “This is genocide!” as police led protesters who elected to stay in the street to waiting police vans.

Protesters kept to the side of the intersection, stepping into the road one at a time to be arrested.

Vancouver police could not confirm whether any of the arrestees had been arrested at other protests this month.

At about 1:45 p.m., police reopened the road to traffic.

Demonstrators say they are supporting the hereditary chiefs in their battle over the Coastal GasLink LNG pipeline and the Tyendinaga Mohawk people who were arrested Monday at a rail blockade in Ontario.

“We’re blocking one of the entrances to the Port of Vancouver,” organizer Natalie Knight said.

“It’s significant because it’s an economic disruption and we recognize that the government tends to only understand the language of money, so disrupting capital and the flow of goods is a language that they will understand.”

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A new wave of blockades spring up in B.C.
A new wave of blockades spring up in B.C.

Alleyways and side roads in the area have been busy as commuters try to find alternate routes.

Vancouver police say they will be monitoring the protest and will provide updates on traffic disruptions via social media.

“We will continue to monitor the situation and our response will be appropriate and proportionate to the activities observed that jeopardize public safety and negatively impact those who live, work, and visit the area,” Sgt. Aaron Roed said in a statement.

COVID-19 outbreak and blockades impacting B.C. economy
COVID-19 outbreak and blockades impacting B.C. economy

Roed went on to say Vancouver police have been in contact with the Port of Vancouver and the injunction granted to the port two weeks ago is still valid.

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“Officers have spoken with the protesters who have been made aware of the injunction, officers have been engaged in discussions with organizers to help facilitate the safety of protesters, the public and the police.”

READ MORE: Protests swell across Canada after police clear rail blockade in Tyendinaga

Port of Vancouver spokesperson Danielle Jang confirmed they are having discussions with Vancouver police.

“The disruptions to port operations over the past few weeks have had a significant impact on Canadians across the country, who rely on the businesses that import and export goods through the port for employment and for the products that support each of us every day,” Jang said.

“While we respect the right to a peaceful protest, the port authority has a federal responsibility to ensure the safe and efficient movement of Canada’s trade through the port.”

Blockades spring up in B.C. as police take others down in Ontario
Blockades spring up in B.C. as police take others down in Ontario

In Victoria, protesters continue to block an entrance to the B.C. legislature.

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A court injunction is in place preventing anyone from blocking access to the legislature building.

However, protesters believe they are not in violation of the injunction as the entrance they are blocking is not used for day-to-day legislature business, and is reserved for the lieutenant-governor.

On Monday, protesters forced the cancellation of afternoon West Coast Express service by occupying rail lines in Maple Ridge. The group calling themselves the Red Braid Alliance has moved to Abbotsford and are blocking tracks used by CP Rail and the Southern Railroad of BC. About 20 people are standing near the intersection of Sumas Way and Vye Road.

In northern B.C., members of the Gitxsan Nation resurrected a blockade near New Hazelton, disrupting CN rail service.

Protesters block traffic in Vancouver, arrests made at New Hazleton protests
Protesters block traffic in Vancouver, arrests made at New Hazleton protests

Video posted on social media by supporters of the Gitxsan shows protesters blocking Highway 16 near New Hazelton after their rail blockade was taken down once again. They claim a number of people were arrested, some of them possibly chiefs themselves.

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