RCMP moved in this morning, February 6, and began making arrests and clearing the way for Coastal GasLink workers.
Meanwhile, the Office of the Wet’suwet’en announced it has filed for a judicial review of the BC Environmental Assessment Office’s approval of the $6.6 billion natural gas pipeline.
Just one day the provincial government announced that talks between hereditary Wet’suwet’ten First Nation chiefs and the provincial government had broken off, RCMP moved into the area that has been occupied by Wet’suwet’en protesters in the Morice Forest Service Road area near Houston, BC., and began enforcing an injunction issued by the BC Supreme Court at the end of December.
According to the Unist’ot’en – who have led an occupation of the area – six people were arrested this morning, February 6. RCMP have not yet confirmed those numbers.
“This is not the outcome we wanted,” said Coastal GasLink president David Pfeiffer. “We have made exceptional efforts to resolve this blockade through engagement and dialogue.
“Over the past month and over many years, we’ve reached out to the Hereditary Chiefs, over and over, but to no avail. It’s truly unfortunate that we were unable to find a path forward that allowed for the construction of Coastal GasLink with the support of all.”
Eric Stubbs, RCMP assistant commissioner, criminal operations, said in a statement that RCMP officers enforcing an injunction have essentially been told to use kid gloves on protesters.
“They are instructed to use the least amount of force that is reasonable to safely arrest a protestor,” Stubbs said.
“If there are arrests to be made, there are peaceful options that will require a minimal use of force.”
Those options include a voluntary arrest, in which case no force or handcuffs will be used. Those who choose to be arrested but will not move will be carried away “with very little force being applied.”
RCMP officers carrying out the arrests are outfitted with body cams.
The Office of the Wet'suwet'en, originally set up to represent hereditary chiefs in treaty negotiations, announced they have filed for a judicial review of the B.C. govenrment's approval of the Coastal GasLink pipeline, which is part of the $40 billion LNG Canada project.
The majority of First Nations along the pipeline route support the project and have signed benefits agreements.