Supporters of the Unist’ot’en camp wait by the RCMP exclusion zone on a forest service road. (Chantelle Bellrichard/CBC) RCMP have opened their roadblock on a remote forest road in northern B.C., allowing access to a camp that has been the focal point of a First Nations protest against a natural gas pipeline.
After day and a half of talks, Wet’suwet’en Nation hereditary chiefs reached an agreement with the RCMP that includes opening the area that had been off limits to supporters and the media since Monday, when police entered a blockade at the Gidimt’en camp and arrested 14 people.
The Mounties are enforcing a court injunction granting workers with the Coastal GasLink natural gas pipeline project — owned by TransCanada Corp, now officially known as TC Energy — access to a road and bridge that has been blocked by opponents of the project, about 300 kilometres west of Prince George.
Elders, supporters and media are now moving to the Unist’ot’en camp, where they will present further details of the agreement.
The proposed pipeline is meant to transport natural gas from northeastern B.C. to the coast, where a liquefied natural gas project is scheduled for construction.
Members of the Wet’suwet’en Nation established the camps with fortified checkpoints, saying Coastal GasLink workers can only pass if they have consent from hereditary leaders. Chiefs in discussions
The chiefs spent several hours on Tuesday meeting with the RCMP and among themselves to talk about next steps.
In an open letter posted on the company’s website, Coastal GasLink president Rick Gateman wrote it was "unfortunate the RCMP were forced to take this action."
"We took legal action as a last resort and only after six years of unsuccessful efforts to find a mutual solution," the letter reads in part.
"We respect the rights of individuals to peacefully express their point of view, as long as their activities do not disrupt or jeopardize the safety of the public, our employees, our contractors, and even themselves."
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