Protesters in support of the Indigenous gas pipeline blockade demonstrate in front of Canada's Parliament in Ottawa, the national capital.(Jorge Barrera- CBC)

Pipeline protests continue: Second roadblock remains

The Wet’suwet’en First Nations continue their protest over plans to run a natural gas pipeline over their claimed territory in northern British Columbia. They continue to block an access road into the area

A first barrier was taken down by police, but members of the band have moved to a second barrier further down the access road.

The pipeline, expected to cost over $6 billion is part of a much larger $40 billion multinational liquefied natural gas project,

Purple indicates Wet’suwet’en claimed territory, Green indicates proposed pipeline route. Yellow arrow indicates site of the blockade protest (CBC)

The pipeline builder Coastal GasLink is a subsidiary of TransCanada Corp. the project leader. The company was granted a court injunction which prevents the native band from blocking access. On Monday, the federal police agency, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, along with company representatives, met with the band’s elders but no agreement was forth coming. The police then began to enforce the court order by taking down the first road block and arresting 14 people.

On Tuesday, protests in support of Wet’suwet’en were organised in cities across Canada.

Demonstrators blocking access to the Vancouver constituency office of the federal Justice Minster on Tuesday (Denis Dossmann-Radio-Canada)

A group of protesters also interrupted a speech by Prime Minister Trudeau at a forum on Indigenous relations with the government

The company for its part says it spent years getting approval from all First Nations groups along the proposed 700 kilometre route from northeastern B.C. to Kitimat on the coast where the giant LNG facility is to be built. They say this agreement included the Wet’suwet’en.

Hundreds turned out at the protest in Vancouver blocking traffic. Demonstrations were held in major cities across Canada with a mis of Indigenous rights supporters and anti-pipeline environmentalists ( Rafferty Baker- CBC)

However, while the elected band council had agreed, the heredity chiefs have not.  Supporters of the heredity chiefs say the elected council controls only matters pertaining to the actual reserve while the hereditary chiefs decide on matters in their wider territory.

A CBC reporter contacted the elected council chief, although the chief declined to comment saying only she did not want to aggravate the  situation.

It is expected the RCMP will move soon on the second access road barrier which was set up much further down the access road. When that might happen however is not certain. Unconfirmed reports say the police have reserved rooms at a motel in the nearby town of Houston for the month.

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