Thirteen Wet’suwet’en land defenders will be in court in a few weeks to defend their right to protect their territory from TC Energy
Video: RCMP C-IRG officers smash down a door and arrest land defenders at gunpoint on November 19, 2021.
Greenpeace Canada notes: “In a few weeks Wet’suwet’en land defenders will be in the colonial courts defending their right to protect their territory from the unlawful trespass and property damage caused by TC Energy’s Coastal GasLink.”
They add: “Later this year, they will be in court again pursuing a civil suit against the RCMP, Coastal GasLink, and Forsythe Security for waging a daily campaign of intimidation and harassment against Wet’suwet’en people and supporters on the land.”
The Greenpeace Canada letter links to this call for donations to Wet’suwet’en Yintah Defence Legal Funds.
Criminal contempt proceedings against land defenders
The CBC has also reported 13 land defenders face criminal contempt proceedings in relation to the RCMP arrests on November 18-19, 2021.
One of those facing criminal charges is Wet’suwet’en land defender Sleydo’.
On November 23, 2021, after four days in custody in a provincial jail in Prince George, she stated: “C-IRG and the RCMP need to be abolished. Anybody who is not into prison abolition should be after this experience that we’ve had.”
Civil suit for Charter violations
On February 28, 2023, a Gidimt’en Checkpoint media release noted: “A dozen Wet’suwet’en land defenders and supporters have applied to the Supreme Court of British Columbia to have criminal contempt charges stayed in light of widespread Charter violations stemming from police misconduct.”
That statement further explains: “Alleging an ‘abuse of process,’ the court applications highlight the RCMP’s ‘disproportionate and excessive use of force’ against peaceful land defenders during a series of militarized police raids in November of 2021. In violation of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, the applications allege that arrestees were variously denied their right to security of person, subjected to unreasonable search and seizure, arbitrarily detained and imprisoned, and denied reasonable bail without just cause.”
Linking Indigenous land defenders struggles in Canada and Mexico
Wet’suwet’en land defenders (who oppose the TC Energy Coastal GasLink pipeline on their territory) will be in Toronto and Ottawa in the coming days to meet with Mixtec, Otomi and Nahua land defenders (who oppose the TC Energy Tula Pipeline Project on their ancestral lands in central Mexico.
For more on the Toronto events, click here.
For more on the public forum in Ottawa, click here.