BC RCMP have announced a checkpoint previously put in place at Morice Service Road on Wet’suwet’en territory has been removed.
“As of 3:45 pm today, February 11, 2020, the temporary exclusion zone that the RCMP has put in place on the Morice West Forest Service Road near Houston, BC, has been removed,” said a release from BC RCMP.
Last week, RCMP announced they were set to begin enforcing an injunction from BC Supreme Court ordering protesters to clear the road for the construction Coastal GasLink pipeline.
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Wet’suwet’en leaders opposed to the pipeline and their allies had set up camp along the construction route, and were being forcibly removed and arrested by RCMP to allow the gas company to continue construction.
According to RCMP, Coastal GasLink (CGL) employees have removed the barricade gate from the Morice River Bridge, allowing both vehicles and foot traffic across the bridge
“CGL has confirmed the road and infrastructure are deemed safe and ready for full access, therefore, the access control point that the RCMP had put in place on at the 27 km mark of the Morice West Forest Service Road has been removed,” said the release.
“The senior commander and members of the Division Liaison Team have been in contact with office of the Wet’suwet’en and police liaisons advising of the removal of the exclusion zone. All individuals can now re-enter and travel on the road.”
A number of demonstrations in solidarity have taken place around Vancouver and across the country, including a blockade of all entrances of BC Legislature Tuesday, ahead of the Throne Speech.
BC Premier John Horgan issued a statement Tuesday afternoon, saying people “have the right to peaceful protest. We support people in the exercise of their democratic rights – within the law.”
Horgan furthered that he also understands “the frustration of people who have been unable to go to work today, who have been unable to enter government buildings or have been unable to get around in their communities.”
The RCMP says they will continue to monitor the situation and engage in ongoing dialogue with the Hereditary Chiefs, Elected Councils, CGL, and government.
“The right to peaceful, safe and lawful protest, and freedom of expression, are important parts of Canada’s democracy,” said RCMP in a release.
“However, blocking roadways is both dangerous and illegal. While we respect the right to demonstrate peacefully, police of local jurisdiction will enforce the law with sensitivity.”
Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, President of the Union of BC Indian Chiefs, addressed the crowd of supporters in the blockade at BC Legislature, saying that BC Premier John Horgan is not serious about reconciliation.
“I want to thank each and every one of you for being here today, for standing up for the hereditary chiefs, for our own system of governance, that seeks to protect the integrity of the land, the environment, and the water,” said Phillip.
“Reconciliation will never be achieved at gunpoint.”