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Montreal protesters set up new blockade in support of Wet’suwet’en despite proposed agreement

Click to play video 'Protesters set up new rail blockade in Montreal' Protesters set up new rail blockade in Montreal
Despite hopes that a draft deal in northern B.C. could bring an end to nationwide protests and blockades, a new demonstration was set up along a commuter rail line in Montreal, in a show of solidarity with the Wet'suwet'en hereditary chiefs' opposition to the Coastal GasLink pipeline project. Mike Armstrong reports on what transpired. – Mar 2, 2020

As heavy rain poured down on Montreal, protesters briefly blocked railway tracks in the city’s Pointe-Saint-Charles neighbourhood on Monday in support of the Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs.

The rail barricade on a train bridge over Wellington Street comes after hereditary chiefs and senior ministers of the federal and British Columbia governments struck a proposed agreement on land rights.

The group behind the protest, called Southwest Solidarity With Wet’suwet’en, said in a statement the action is due to the presence of RCMP and the Coastal GasLink pipeline on the territory in northern B.C.

Click to play video 'Draft deal with Wet’suwet’en chiefs doesn’t apply to Coastal GasLink pipeline' Draft deal with Wet’suwet’en chiefs doesn’t apply to Coastal GasLink pipeline
Draft deal with Wet’suwet’en chiefs doesn’t apply to Coastal GasLink pipeline – Mar 2, 2020

“We are blocking this rail line in response to the call from Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs to support Indigenous sovereignty and in recognition of the urgency of stopping resource extraction projects threatening future generations,” said Sara Mullins, a participant in the protest.

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A spokesperson for Canadian National Railway confirmed the organization is aware of the protest on its tracks and keeping a close eye on the situation.

 

The draft agreement, which was reached on Sunday after three days of negotiations, still requires the approval of the Wet’suwet’en before it moves forward.

While little details have been revealed about the deal, a joint statement from the parties acknowledged that they have not come to an agreement on the natural gas pipeline.

The construction of the Coastal GasLink pipeline on Indigenous land has sparked railway blockades across Canada since early February in solidarity with the chiefs. The barricades have disrupted freight train traffic and led to cancellations on local and national commuter rails.

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READ MORE: Kahnawake rail blockade remains in place after draft agreement reached

After weeks of protests in the province, two other rail blockades in Quebec are still standing despite the proposed deal.

The Mohawk community of Kahnawake will decide what next steps to take and wait for more details before dismantling the barricade.

Further north in the Gaspé region, protesters have also maintained their blockade in the Mi’kmaq community of Listuguj.

Click to play video 'Proposed agreement reached with Wet’suwet’en chiefs' Proposed agreement reached with Wet’suwet’en chiefs
Proposed agreement reached with Wet’suwet’en chiefs – Mar 1, 2020

— With files from the Canadian Press