Pipeline protesters block traffic in East Vancouver for 2nd day in a row
VANCOUVER -- For the second day in a row, pipeline protesters blocked traffic outside entrances to the Port of Vancouver, disrupting traffic during rush hour Friday in solidarity with Wet'suwet'en hereditary chiefs and their supporters in northern B.C.
On Thursday, the RCMP began enforcing an injunction against the Indigenous people and their allies camped out along the Morice West Forest Service Road near Houston, B.C., where the Coastal GasLink pipeline is slated to be built.
Six people were arrested along the road Thursday, and police announced four more arrests Friday afternoon.
In Vancouver, approximately 100 people gathered at the intersection of East Hastings Street and Clark Drive Thursday afternoon, executing what they called a "blockade" on the port in support of those seeking to prevent the liquefied natural gas pipeline from being built.
On Friday, a similarly sized crowd gathered at the same intersection, stopping traffic and forcing several buses to be re-routed.
“We’ve blocked all three entrances to the Port of Vancouver in solidarity with theWet'suwet'en nation up north who are under attack by the RCMP,” organizer Natalie Knight told CTV News.
Protesters again called on the RCMP to stop arresting people along the planned pipeline route, arguing that the Wet'suwet'en hereditary chiefs, who oppose the pipeline, have jurisdiction over their traditional territory, and that an injunction against them shouldn't apply.
Coastal GasLink has agreements with all 20 elected First Nations governments along the pipeline's proposed route, but the company does not have the support of the hereditary chiefs.
“The elected band council chief system is a system that does not represent the hereditary chief system and we are here in support of the hereditary chiefs,” Knight said.
While the elected leaders have authority over reserve land under the Indian Act, hereditary chiefs in many First Nations, including the Wet'suwet'en, have responsibility for a broader traditional territory.
During the action, protesters were fielding criticism from drivers about their own reliance on fossil fuels. Knight was asked about her response.
“Many of us have cars to get to our jobs or we take public transport that may or may not run on fossil fuels. These are parts of our system and our society and it takes a long time to change these things. But if we begin to take action now and we stand with each other, we can make incremental change towards a future of very large charge.”
The same group of protesters are planning more action Saturday, meeting at Woodland Park at 6 a.m.
With files from CTV News Vancouver's Ian Holliday