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Press release: Halifax blockade in solidarity with Wet’suwet’en land defenders

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Facebook event: https://facebook.com/events/2960121060672866

K’kipuktuk / Halifax: On February 11th at 12:30pm, Haligonians began to block the Fairview Cove Container Terminal in solidarity with Wet’suwe’ten land defenders, who are being forced off their land by the RCMP to make way for the Coastal Gaslink (CGL) pipeline project. 

Supporters of the Wet’suwe’ten land defenders are engaging in similar solidarity actions throughout the country. Since Gidimt’en checkpoint spokesperson Molly Wickham made the call to #ShutDownCanada on February 7th, ports, bridges, rails, offices and roads have been blocked or occupied throughout Canada in solidarity with the Wet’suwet’en people and their assertion of sovereignty. According to Via Rail, nearly 200 trains have been affected by the ongoing protests. 

The RCMP began enforcing an injunction in support of the CGL pipeline project on February 6th. The RCMP violently raided two camps, as well as the Unist’ot’en village, which are on unceded Wet’suwet’en territory. 

Yesterday, heavily armed RCMP equipped with attack dogs and sound cannons raided the Unist’ot’en village, an off-grid community and home to the Unist’ot’en Healing Centre. It has been the center of Wet’suwet’en resistance to pipelines for a decade, and an inspirational site of decolonization and healing. Wet’suwe’ten matriarchs and land defenders were arrested while in ceremony honouring missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls. 

To date, approximately 80 land defenders and legal observers have been arrested at the camps, as well as in solidarity actions throughout the country. 

Meanwhile, the RCMP has also been denounced by groups such as the Canadian Association of Journalists for blocking media access.

This local event follows a series of Wet’suwe’ten solidarity actions in Halifax, including a sit-in at MP Andy Fillmore’s office and rally in front of the RCMP office on February 7th. 

Background: 

The five clans of the Wet’suwet’en Nation and their hereditary chiefs have rejected all pipeline proposals, including the the Coastal Gaslink (GCL) pipeline project, asserting their sovereignty on unceded territory. 

The Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs maintain that CGL does not have free, prior and informed consent to operate in their territory. 

Canada’s courts have acknowledged in Delgamuukw-Gisdaywa v. The Queen that the Wet’suwet’en people, represented by their hereditary chiefs, have never ceded nor surrendered title to the 22,000km2 of Wet’suwet’en territory. Recently over three dozen lawyers, legal experts, and law professors issued an open letter affirming this interpretation, and asserting that this issue “goes to the core of the relationship between the Crown and Indigenous Peoples and the obligations that arise therefrom.”

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