An RCMP officer speaks with a driver at the ‘exclusion zone’ police have set up on a forest road near Houston, B.C., as they enforce an injunction allowing pipeline workers access past Wet’suwet’en checkpoints. Mounties were headed to a second camp Tuesday. (Chantelle Bellrichard/CBC) RCMP are headed to a second camp and checkpoint on a northern B.C. forest service road to enforce a court injunction that would allow Coast GasLink access to the road and a bridge.
The Unist’ot’en camp is one of two set up by members of the Wet’suwet’en Nation to prevent Coast GasLink workers from gaining access to the road near Houston, B.C., about 300 kilometres west of Prince George.
On Monday, RCMP entered the fortified checkpoint at the Gidimt’en camp on the forest service road to enforce the injunction, granted in December, ordering people to stop preventing workers from gaining access. Fourteen people were arrested.
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. The Coastal GasLink pipeline is meant to transport natural gas from northeastern B.C. to the coast, where a liquefied natural gas project is scheduled for construction.
TransCanada Corp., which owns Coastal GasLink, said it signed agreements with all First Nations along the proposed pipeline route to the $40-billion LNG Canada facility being built in Kitimat, B.C., but some hereditary chiefs say those agreements don’t apply to the traditional territories.
RCMP Cpl. Madonna Saunderson said the plan Tuesday is to "safely execute the court injunction."
Some people who weren’t arrested Monday at Gidimt’en retreated to the Unist’ot’en camp. It was established in 2010 in a remote part of the Wet’suwet’en nation’s traditional territory.
Media are not being permitted to pass the RCMP exclusion zone established on the forest service road at the 27 kilometre mark.
Witnesses at the RCMP checkpoint said they saw several RCMP vehicles heading in to the area in the morning and other unmarked vehicles were seen getting through as well. A helicopter was seen taking off and heading out over the area.
At least two journalists remain with the group at Unist’ot’en and are reporting along with members at the camp that an RCMP helicopter was seen flying overhead this morning.
Hereditary leaders of the Wet’suwet’en are expected to give an update to the public at a rally in Smithers, B.C., at noon PT.
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