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.
“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.
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.
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.
— With files from the Canadian Press