Demonstrators have blocked off the Highway 6 bypass in Caledonia, Ont., to stand in solidarity with Indigenous land defenders in British Columbia.
Ontario Provincial Police tweeted about the closure early Thursday evening, saying the highway is shut down between Argyle Street South and Greens Road.
“Commercial vehicles cannot cross the Argyle Street Bridge in Caledonia due to weight restrictions and must follow detour signs for alternate route. Alternate route please take 4th Line from Hwy. 6,” read the tweet.
The police service said drivers must remain patient and said members of its provincial liaison team are in a dialogue with demonstrators.
“Our primary goal is to preserve the peace and maintain a safe environment for everyone involved,” read an OPP media release.
The Highway #6 By-Pass has been shutdown in solidarity with <a href=”https://twitter.com/Gidimten?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>@Gidimten</a> <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/AllOutForWedzinKwa?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#AllOutForWedzinKwa</a>
Demonstrators on Highway 6 wrote in an email they were responding to “the call for solidarity action made by Sleydo’ and the Wet’suwet’en.”
“We are bringing attention to the violation of Wet’suwet’en law we are witnessing … we will stay until the RCMP ends their unlawful attack on Wet’suwet’en Territory,” they said.
“Like the RCMP, the OPP engage in divisive tactics in our community, disrupting and delaying the peaceful community-led processes taking place. The OPP have never been a part of finding resolution to conflicts at any time during previous Wet’suwet’en solidarity actions or throughout the occupation at 1492 Land Back Lane.”
This comes after the highway was blocked off three weeks ago and land defenders voluntarily stopped after five days.
This also follows the RCMP saying it arrested 14 people who barricaded a road in Northern B.C. to protest the multi-billion dollar natural gas pipeline.
One of the 14 people arrested included Skyler Williams from Six Nations of the Grand River, who among other Haudenosaunee activists, joined the Wet’suwet’en in B.C. to protest.
What’s happening in B.C.?
In northern B.C., some members of Wet’suwet’en Nation are occupying a Coastal GasLink (CGL) construction site.
The proposed $6.6-billion, 670-kilometre pipeline will deliver natural gas from the Dawson Creek area in northern B.C., heading west near Vanderhoof to a liquefaction facility in Kitimat. It’s part of a $40-billion LNG Canada project.
The province and all 20 elected First Nations councils along the route, including Wet’suwet’en elected council, approved the construction — but Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs said the project needed their consent too.
They said elected councils are responsible for only the territory within their individual reserves, which were created through the Indian Act.
But the hereditary chiefs say they are following Wet’suwet’en law that predates colonization and the Indian Act, meaning they assert authority over the broader 22,000 square kilometres of traditional territory that the pipeline would cross.
National protests and rail blockades, including one in Hamilton, followed, in early 2020.
Demonstrators on Highway 6 said they welcome visitors and encourage dialogue with community members who have concerns.
“The RCMP is working on behalf of industry to violate Wet’suwet’en law, forcing the CGL pipeline through Wet’suwet’en Territory without consent,” they said.
“Everyone across Turtle Island who are witnessing the violation of Wet’suwet’en law happening before us must do everything they can to stand in solidarity and fight back against the colonial violence stealing Indigenous lands before our eyes.”