Indige­nous groups stage ‘sol­i­dar­ity slow­down’

The Peterborough Examiner - - Canada & World - MICHELLE MCQUIGGE

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.

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