Protest rolls along 401

Kingston Whig-Standard - - FRONT PAGE - TIM MEEKS

The chief of the Mo­hawks of the Bay of Quinte says he ex­pects a pos­i­tive out­come to on­go­ing pipe­line protests in Bri­tish Columbia, which re­ceived sup­port Fri­day morn­ing by a rolling protest in the west­bound lanes of High­way 401 that caused traf­fic de­lays.

On so­cial me­dia, par­tic­i­pants called it a “day of peace­ful ac­tion” un­der­taken “in sol­i­dar­ity with our brothers and sis­ters out west” and in­cluded Mo­hawk ter­ri­to­ries along High­way 401.

The con­voy was in sup­port of the Wet’suwet’en of Bri­tish Columbia, whose hered­i­tary chiefs ended a stand­off with the RCMP this week as they fight the con­struc­tion of a pipe­line on their tra­di­tional ter­ri­tory.

The protest be­gan be­fore dawn with par­tic­i­pants from the Kah­nawake First Na­tion, south of Mon­treal, who were joined en route by mem­bers of the Ak­we­sasne Na­tion in the Corn­wall area.

Mean­while, a sec­ond group of pro­test­ers were on the high­way in south­west­ern On­tario head­ing to­ward the Brant­ford area.

Chief R. Don­ald Mar­a­cle said he wasn’t even aware of the mo­tor­cades un­til Fri­day morn­ing.

“I’m not sure of all the en­vi­ron­men­tal and eco con­cerns with the protests, but I do know the elected coun­cil sup­ports them and the Al­berta and B.C. chiefs are against the pipe­lines,” Mar­a­cle said. “There have been con­cerns in the past about com­pa­nies not per­form­ing very well in terms of clean­ing up af­ter they are done these projects.

“I think there has been a lack of com­mu­ni­ca­tion be­tween gov­ern­ments and the First Na­tions. I don’t think Prime Min­is­ter Trudeau will be de­terred by the protests. They are de­ter­mined to get these pipe­lines built, so I think the First Na­tions will likely get bet­ter com­mu­ni­ca­tion with the gov­ern­ments and it will end with a pos­i­tive out­come,” Mar­a­cle said

The protest started early in the morn­ing east of Prescott and ended near Tyen­d­i­naga. On­tario Provin­cial Po­lice said in a news re­lease that they were do­ing their best to mit­i­gate the de­lays.

“The OPP’s ob­jec­tive is to main­tain the safe flow of traf­fic and, when de­lays oc­cur, re­store traf­fic flow in the safest man­ner pos­si­ble,” stated the provin­cial force in a news re­lease. “The OPP is also work­ing with those who may or­ga­nize protest events to pro­vide a safe and peace­ful op­por­tu­nity to ex­er­cise their law­ful rights while min­i­miz­ing the im­pact on the trav­el­ling pub­lic, where pos­si­ble.”

Sgt. Cyn­thia Savard told Postmedia on Fri­day morn­ing that the OPP were try­ing to make con­tact with the pro­test­ers.

“Our main goal is pub­lic safety and ask­ing mo­torists to be pa­tient and aware,” Savard said.

Just be­fore 11 a.m., East Re­gion OPP re­ported the pro­test­ers had cleared the high­way af­ter trav­el­ling past De­seronto, adding that they “ap­pre­ci­ated ev­ery­one’s co­op­er­a­tion and pa­tience.”

LARS HAGBERG/THE CANA­DIAN PRESS

An Indige­nous protest con­voy drives at slow speed on High­way 401 west­bound in Kingston on Fri­day in sup­port of pipe­line pro­test­ers in Bri­tish Columbia.

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