Fred Speck, of the Gwawaenuk Tribe of north Vancouver Island, addresses a crowd of about 90 people who turned out for a rally Tuesday in front of the Nanaimo courthouse supporting the Wet’suwet’un First Nation’s efforts to stop the the Coastal GasLink project. CHRIS BUSH/ The News Bulletin

Nanaimo rally held to support those opposing gas pipeline

Protesters vent opposition to the Coastal GasLink project and RCMP arrests

A natural gas pipeline stirred unrest in Wet’suwet’en First Nation territory in northern B.C. and in the form of protest rallies across the province, including Nanaimo, on Tuesday.

About 90 people – representing various groups that included First Nations from the Island, the Council of Canadians and members of the Wet’suwet’en First Nation and others – gathered at the Commercial Street and Terminal Avenue intersection downtown to vent their opposition to the Coastal GasLink project and arrests made by the RCMP to clear protest camps blocking construction progress as part of an interim injunction issued by the B.C. Supreme Court.

At about 12:30 p.m. the protesters in Nanaimo stepped from the sidewalks to the centre of the city’s main downtown intersection to chant anti-government, anti-police and anti-project slogans, and blocked traffic for several minutes. Motorists sounded their horns, made U-turns and edged their vehicles toward the crowd until the gathering marched up Commercial Street and onto Front Street to continue the rally in front of the Nanaimo courthouse.

“The hereditary chiefs and the hereditary clans have said no to this project,” Paul Manly, rally organizer, said in his address to the rally.

Manly argued the “raid” by the RCMP goes against the Tsilhqot’in decision by the Supreme Court of Canada, which he said prevents economic development on First Nation lands without prior and informed consent.

“It is shameful that our national police force is out enforcing for multinational corporations,” he said.

Annette Favelle of the Wet’suwet’en First Nation said the RCMP action is unconstitutional.

“They broke the constitutional law,” Favelle said. “They’ve broken our Wet’suwet’en law. We had a feast back home. All five clans, all five hereditary chiefs agreed. No pipeline.”

Manly said he was not aware the crowd would move to block the intersection. He noted there were no cars present when the crowd moved onto the roadway, but became concerned when traffic began to pile up and some drivers appeared to become frustrated.

“My gut wrenches whenever people do something like that because I’m concerned for people’s safety,” he said.

Police presence at the rally was small. Two members of the Nanaimo RCMP bicycle unit arrived as the crowd of protesters was leaving the Commercial Street and Terminal Avenue intersection and stood by at a distance as the rally, which remained peaceful, ended shortly after 1 p.m.



photos@nanaimobulletin.com
Like us on
Facebook and follow us on Twitter

 

Annette Favelle, left, Leo Naziel and Lisa Hanuse, of the Wet’suwet’en First Nation, address a crowd of about 90 people who turned out for a rally Tuesday in front of the Nanaimo courthouse supporting the Wet’suwet’un First Nation’s effort to stop the the Coastal GasLink project. CHRIS BUSH/ The News Bulletin

Just Posted

B.C. Supreme Court dismisses review around ferry workers’ right to strike

B.C. Ferry and Marine Workers’ Union collective agreement expires November 2020

City of Nanaimo announces winner of street banner design contest

Amy Pye’s artwork shows people living in harmony with the ocean and nature

Nanaimo Mounties to return stolen rifles to owner

Guns had been seized this month by police who found the suspect carrying rifles wrapped in a blanket

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Get started on environmental commitment

We are pleased to see city council addressing our climate and environment decay, say letter writers

Beefs & Bouquets, May 23

To submit a beef or a bouquet to the Nanaimo News Bulletin, e-mail bulletinboard@nanaimobulletin.com

600 new campsites coming to provincial parks and recreation sites across B.C.

Tourism Minister announced half of the new spots to 13 most popular provincial parks

Raptors beat Bucks 105-99 to move within 1 game of NBA Finals

Leonard scores 35 as Toronto takes 3-2 series lead over Milwaukee

Bookfest helps fill school library shelves leading up to next week’s event

Vancouver Island Children’s Book Festival is June 1 at downtown Nanaimo venues

Municipalities protest after B.C. declares marijuana crops ‘farm use’

UBCM president seeks answers in letter to John Horgan government

CMHC defends mortgage stress test changes amid calls for loosening rules

Uninsured borrowers must now show they could service their mortgage if rates rose two per cent

B.C. woman left ‘black and blue’ after being pushed off 40-foot cliff at lake

West Shore RCMP looking for witnesses as investigation continues

Christmas morning burglar sentenced in Nanaimo

Justin Redmond Feusse, 20, sentenced to 240 days in jail for Christmas day break-and-enter

RCMP searching for missing Vancouver Island teenager

16-year-old Lasheena Seward was reported missing from a group home in Port Alberni

Nanaimo astronomers can hear about ultraviolet telescope’s galactic calculations

Canada’s space telescope to look at blue end of light spectrum to unveil mysteries of the universe

Most Read