PBI-Canada notes one year anniversary of RCMP raid on Wet’suwet’en territory and the arrest of 22 land defenders

Published by Brent Patterson on

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Photo of RCMP arresting Unist’ot’en and defender Freda Huson on February 10, 2020 by Amber Bracken/The Narwhal.

Today, February 6, is the first anniversary of the second RCMP raid on Wet’suwet’en territory to allow the Coastal GasLink fracked gas pipeline to proceed.

The police arrested 22 land defenders and allies from February 6-10, 2020.

The TC Energy-owned pipeline would cross 190 kilometres of Wet’suwet’en territory without the free, prior and informed consent of the Wet’suwet’en peoples.

The first police raid on Wet’suwet’en territory took place on January 7, 2019.

Following that first raid, the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination passed a resolution in December 2019 calling for the RCMP to be withdrawn from Wet’suwet’en territory, but within weeks the British Columbia government approved the funds for the second RCMP raid against the land defenders.

After that second raid, the UN Committee stated: “The Committee regrets that the State party has provided no information on measures taken to address the concerns raised by the Committee in its decision of 13 December 2019.”

Last summer, after the charges against the Wet’suwet’en land defenders and allies were dropped, the Wet’suwet’en stated: “Coastal Gaslink continues to trespass on our lands under the escort of the RCMP, who maintain an illegal remote police detachment on Wet’suwet’en territory. We are treated as criminals on our own land.”

They added: “We will continue to uphold Wet’suwet’en law. We have a responsibility to protect our water for future generations and to protect our territory from unlawful trespass and destruction. We will continue to protect what is ours.”

The total length of the Coastal GasLink pipeline is 670 kilometres. Yesterday, the CBC reported that “more than 140 kilometres” of the pipeline has been laid.

Radio-Canada adds: “The pipes were first buried near Kitimat and Dawson Creek at both ends of its 670-kilometre route, and clearing and drilling work is underway near Houston, where opponents were arrested last February.”

That article also notes: “An application for a judicial review of environmental permits granted to Coastal GasLink, submitted by the chiefs, was heard last fall by the Supreme Court of British Columbia, which is expected to issue a decision shortly.”

The UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination has also called on Canada to provide updated information on the concerns expressed by the Committee in their two letters by November 15 of this year.

PBI-Canada is helping to promote an online film festival on March 20-21 that will include a discussion with Wet’suwet’en land defenders Freda Huson (Unist’ot’en) and Jen Wickham (Gidimt’en) and PBI-Honduras accompanied Civil Council of Grassroots and Indigenous Organizations in Honduras (COPINH) coordinator Bertha Zúniga Cácere

More on that film festival and panel here.

On January 12, 2019, just days after the first RCMP raid on Wet’suwet’en territory, Bertha and other members of COPINH posted this photo in solidarity with their struggle.

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