Day 3: Wet’suwet’en land defenders occupy drill pad site, anticipate fourth RCMP raid

Published by Brent Patterson on

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Photo by Dan Mesec/ The Tyee.

On Sunday December 19, Gidimt’en Checkpoint tweeted:

Now, The Tyee reports: “One month after dozens of arrests, supporters of Wet’suwet’en Hereditary Chiefs have reoccupied a worksite on the Coastal GasLink pipeline route in the nation’s territory. The group announced Sunday they had returned to occupy Coyote Camp and block access to a strategic pipeline worksite.”

“Wet’suwet’en Hereditary Chief Na’Moks said today he visited the site on Sunday after Coastal GasLink security had been asked to leave.”

“He added that a tiny home, school bus and wall tents removed from the camp during the arrests had been returned and are now occupied.”

That article also notes: “Na’Moks said there was no Coastal GasLink security or RCMP at the site during his visit… He said no work was underway at the site, although it appeared site preparation had continued since the arrests a month ago.”

There may be 10-12 land defenders at the site now.

The CBC article on this adds: “[Gidimt’en Checkpoint media coordinator Jennifer] Wickham said the people who re-occupied the area Sunday are not the same ones who were arrested in November.”

Those arrested on November 18-19 will be in court on February 14, 2022.

And the Canadian Press reports: “The RCMP say they are investigating allegations that protesters threatened security officials, set off flares and damaged vehicles at a drill site for the Coastal GasLink pipeline in northern British Columbia.”

Wickham questions this account and says: “We have heard false testimony from the RCMP before about us.” She also says that the land defenders at Coyote Camp are anticipating another police action “against unarmed Indigenous people.”

International accompaniment

While we are not on the yintah, we are, along with many others around the world, watching this ongoing situation closely.

We recall that when the Guardian reported on the RCMP raid in 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.”

We also recall that the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination has urged Canada “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 follow Gidimt’en Checkpoint on Twitter for daily updates.

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