‘Welcome to battleground B.C.’: Hundreds rally against LNG pipeline

Vancouver’s downtown was packed with Indigenous people and environmental activists

Hundreds of people took to the streets of downtown Vancouver and packed Victory Square on Tuesday to show their opposition to the Coastal GasLink pipeline in northern B.C.

The protest was held in solidarity with the Wet’suwet’en people who have set up two anti-pipeline camps southwest of Smithers to block the project. Fourteen people were arrested there on Monday for allegedly violating a court order to stay away from the work sites.

READ MORE: RCMP enforce pipeline injunction

READ MORE: RCMP arrest 14 people in northern B.C. over anti-LNG pipeline protest

The pipeline will carry natural gas 670 kilometres from the Peace region to a recently-approved $40-billion LNG Canada export facility in Kitimat.

The initial focus of the demonstration was the arrests and the LNG pipeline, the rally in Vancouver unleashed a deep-seated anger among participants against what one speaker called “500 years of colonial oppression.”

People held signs that read “Respect Indigenous rights and title” and “RCMP get out of Wet’suwet’en territories.”

Protesters called on the government to respect the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, which Canada adopted in 2016.

Along with signs, a black PVC pipe with “Made in Canada” stamped along the sides was carried through the streets to represent the Coastal GasLink project.

Vancouver’s rally was one of dozens held across Canada and the United States. It remained peaceful, with dozens of police officers directing marchers and holding back traffic.

Speaking from the stairs in Victory Square, Christy David of the Moricetown Band spoke of how important today was to her family in northern B.C.

“My sisters and my brothers are hurting right now. My relations are standing on the front lines and they’re freezing,” said David, whose band is part of the Wet’suwet’en people.

“Their bodies are cold, but their spirit is strong. They don’t want anything to do with that black snake.”

Reuben George, of the Tsleil-Waututh Nation near Squamish , said 2019 would be a “watershed year” in the fight against pipelines.

“Justin Trudeau, welcome to battleground British Columbia,” George yelled out to the crowd. “We’re going to take this battle to the highest levels of government and this time we’re going to win.”


@katslepian

katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

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An earlier version of this story said the Coastal Gas Link pipeline would carry liquified natural gas. It will carry the product in gas form.

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