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37 arrests made as Toronto rail blockade ends, regular Milton GO train service resumes

Click to play video 'Wet’suwet’en solidarity rail blockade set up on Toronto tracks' Wet’suwet’en solidarity rail blockade set up on Toronto tracks
WATCH ABOVE: Tensions were high on Tuesday when a Wet’suwet’en solidarity rail blockade in Toronto saw dozens standing at tracks near Dundas Street and Jane Street – Feb 25, 2020

Toronto police say 37 people in total were arrested after protesters blocked a rail line in the city’s west end Tuesday evening, adding that they have broken up the protest that halted Milton’s GO Transit train line.

Police were called to the rail tracks behind Lambton Arena, near Scarlett Road and Dundas Street West, where dozens of protesters established a blockade in solidarity with the Wet’suwet’en Nation hereditary chiefs who oppose the 670-kilometre Coastal GasLink pipeline in northern British Columbia.

READ MORE: Wet’suwet’en solidarity rail blockade setup in Toronto, Milton GO trains on detour

In a tweet early Wednesday morning, police said officers handed protesters an injunction and began removing them from the area.

“Many protesters were cooperative; arrests were made when necessary,” the tweet read.

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Police said on Twitter Wednesday evening that while 37 people were arrested, 25 were released unconditionally. The service said 12 people were charged with mischief and seven of those 12 also face Rail Safety Act-related charges.

“Our goal is always public safety and we will continue to work with our public and private sector partners to maintain the integrity of the city’s critical infrastructure,” police added.

Officers removed protesters into the overnight hours until the area was cleared. Demonstrators were seen standing on and near the tracks, chanting and carrying signs and banners.

Metrolinx said train service has now resumed on Milton GO and that passengers will get to Union Station on the regular route.

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During the blockade, Metrolinx said a detour was put in place for Milton GO passengers. Trains were diverted to part of the Lakeshore West line, adding about 30 minutes to each Milton-bound train trip.

Service was also suspended on Lakeshore West due to a blockade near Aldershot GO for almost 24 hours. On Tuesday at around 5 p.m., protesters left the train tracks after officers gave them a second court injunction notice.

Officers moved in shortly after to extinguish the fires and clear the remaining debris from the tracks. The tracks were then inspected for any damage.

“Hamilton, Niagara and St. Catharines customers: the police investigation near Aldershot GO is clearing up and we are anticipating we’ll be able to run regular train service from Hamilton GO, West Harbour and Niagara Region on Wednesday morning,” Metrolinx said in a tweet.

— With files from Nick Westoll and The Canadian Press.

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