Indigenous groups stage ‘solidarity slowdown’
Stretches of highway in Ontario saw periodic slowdowns on Friday as a number of Indigenous groups held what they described as a “solidarity slowdown” with a British Columbia community protesting a natural gas pipeline.
Organizer Sonny Maracle said drivers travelled at slow speeds down certain local highways to show their support for the Wet’suwet’en First Nation.
Earlier this week, heavily armed police arrested people protesting a Coastal GasLink pipeline that would run through the Wet’suwet’en territory to Kitimat, B.C.
Maracle said Friday’s peaceful protests were meant to support a community fighting to preserve its ancestral lands.
Convoys of supporters converged at Six Nations, and other groups gathered in eastern Ontario between Prescott and Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory, east of Belleville.
The OPP reported Friday evening that peaceful demonstrations in Brant, Haldimand and Middlesex Counties concluded without incident.
Provincial police in various parts of the province reported vehicles travelling at between 50 km/h and 60 km/h, causing rolling delays.
Maracle said the situation in B.C. demonstrates the government’s lack of respect for Indigenous communities.
“We close the highway because of the way the government’s carrying on trying to take our land and forcing stuff down our throats,” Maracle said. “We’re telling them no, they’re going across our land ... They had no right to do what they did to our people out west.”
On Monday, 14 people were arrested after the Mounties took apart a gate that blocked access to an area where Coastal GasLink wants to build a natural gas pipeline.
The arrests were made as the RCMP enforced a court injunction against members of the Wet’suwet’en First Nation who opposed the pipeline by preventing access to the planned route.