PBI-Canada echoes UN call for the RCMP to be withdrawn from Wet’suwet’en lands
On December 19, Gidimt’en Checkpoint tweeted: “BREAKING – Gidimt’en Clan Evicts CGL from Drill Site; Re-Occupies Coyote Camp.”
Their series of tweets then adds:
“Early Sunday, Gidimt’en land defenders evicted Coastal Gaslink workers and re-established control of Coyote Camp, the site where Coastal Gaslink plans to drill beneath Wet’suwet’en headwaters.
This courageous action took place one month after a wave of militarized raids on Gidimt’en land, where police with assault weapons, dogs, and sniper rifles arrested 30 people, including land defenders, journalists, and legal observers.
Wet’suwet’en people have never surrendered this land, and we never will. Our lands are not for sale, and the safety of our waters is non-negotiable.
In early 2020, Hereditary Chiefs from all five clans of our nation stood together and issued an eviction to CGL. That eviction remains in force today.
We are calling for supporters to join us on the ground or take action where you stand. Visit http://yintahaccess.com for ways to help.”
While we are not on the yintah, we are, along with many others within this country and around the world, are watching this closely.
For example, journalist Brandi Morin has posted:
She has also tweeted: “Did you know the police enforcing a pipeline corporations (CGL) injunction can shoot to kill the Indigenous land defenders at their discretion? It’s crucial for media/observers to be there as the Gidimt’en Wet’suwet’en have reoccupied previously police raided Coyote camp.”
We also recall that when the Guardian reported on the RCMP raid of January 2019 – the first of three militarized raids – it revealed: “Canadian police were prepared to shoot Indigenous land defenders blockading construction of a natural gas pipeline in northern British Columbia, according to documents seen by the Guardian.”
That article adds: “The RCMP commanders also instructed officers to ‘use as much violence toward the gate as you want’ ahead of the operation to remove a roadblock which had been erected by Wet’suwet’en people to control access to their territories and stop construction of the proposed 670km (416-mile) Coastal GasLink pipeline (CGL).”
Heavily armed RCMP officers pointing weapons at Wet’suwet’en land defenders were also visible in videos from the February 2020 and November 2021 raids.
In this video from November of this year, land defender Sleydo’ yells at an RCMP officer to stop pointing his automatic weapon at her. In this video from 2020, land defender Denzel Sutherland-Wilson also calls on an RCMP sniper to stop pointing their rifle at him.
Wet’suwet’en land defender Eve Saint also highlights in this rabble.ca interview the concern she had about how the RCMP could respond to how she held an eagle feather during the February 2020 RCMP raid on her ancestral lands.
We also recall this decision from the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination issued in December 2019.
The UN Committee urged Canada to stop construction on the Coastal GasLink pipeline and “to guarantee that no force will be used against Wet’suwet’en peoples and that the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and associated security and policing services will be withdrawn from their traditional lands.”
We continue to watch closely and draw the attention of the international community – including the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders – to the risk now faced by Wet’suwet’en land defenders protecting their territories.