Five people were arrested at two camps near a disputed natural gas pipeline construction site in northwestern British Columbia on Sunday, following a complaint from Coastal GasLink security. According to the police, the group allegedly fired flares and gained access to one of the pipeline company’s vehicles when the worker left due to intimidation.
TC Energy, which owns the project, stated that their workers should have a safe workplace with no fear of violent acts.
The Gidimt’en Checkpoint, whose members are opposed to the pipeline’s construction through Wet’suwet’en territory, noted that most of those arrested were Indigenous women, including the daughter of a hereditary chief. They also said that while police had issued a warrant related to theft under $5,000, it had no clear relation to the village site.
One person was arrested for attempting to prevent officers from executing the warrant and others allegedly refused to follow orders. The opposition among Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs against the 670-kilometre pipeline spurred rallies and rail blockades across Canada in 2020 despite agreement from some First Nations and elected councils.
TC Energy wants their statement known – that many communities have signed equity option agreements which would make them owners in this project – and now it is over 85% complete.
In response, an independent watchdog for the RCMP initiated a review of Community-Industry Response Group which works on responding to public protests regarding resource-based projects in B.C., focusing on police enforcement of injunctions against protests in Kootenay region and Vancouver Island.