Supporters of Wet’suwet’en’s fight to stop a gas pipeline from going to the British Columbia coast took to the streets in Edmonton, where police say one person was taken into custody.
About 60 protesters of the proposed Coastal GasLink pipeline marched along Jasper Avenue at 109 Street Friday afternoon with signs in hand. Edmonton city police responded by monitoring the situation and asking motorists to avoid the area if possible. About 20 officers were called to the scene.
Police confirmed three people were taken into custody but only one was related to the protest. Police said a protester was taken into custody for allegedly blocking traffic but released some time later with no charges. Two other people were also taken into custody in the area but police said this was unrelated to the protest.
Police said in a news release that Canadians have a right to gather peacefully but there are limitations on peacefull assembly under the Criminal Code.
Coastal GasLink has signed agreements with all 20 elected band councils along the pipeline route. However, Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs assert title to a vast 22,000-square-kilometre area and say band councils only have authority over reserve lands. The pipeline is meant to pump natural gas from northeastern B.C. to an export facility being built in Kitimat.
The company has promised $1 billion in benefits to First Nations along the 670-km route.
CN Rail shut down its eastern Canadian network Thursday and Via Rail cancelled most passenger trains after protesters blockaded tracks crossing through Mohawk territory in Ontario.
On Friday, protesters lifted a blockade from a commuter rail route in Vancouver as Indigenous leaders planned to meet with federal and provincial politicians. A protest blocking the CN Rail line near Belleville, Ont., remained in place.