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

Smudging in B.C. classroom had ‘trivial’ impact on Christian family’s faith, says school district’s lawyer

Lawyers lay out arguments in case regarding indigenous cultural practice in Port Alberni classroom

Nanaimo hunters may have harvested deer in area known for chronic wasting disease

Conservation officers make urgent request to public for any information

Nanaimo man caught with more than 200,000 child porn images to be sentenced

Crown says Aaron Macrae recorded video of children on buses and at his workplace

City of Nanaimo budget talks underway, projected tax increase up to 5.6 per cent

Series of special finance and audit meetings was held Wednesday at conference centre

One person injured in rollover crash on Nanaimo Parkway

Accident happened a little after noon in southbound lanes near Cedar Road

One person injured in rollover crash on Nanaimo Parkway

Accident happened a little after noon in southbound lanes near Cedar Road

Beefs & Bouquets, Nov. 21

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

Canucks erupt with 5 power-play goals in win over Nashville

Vancouver ends three-game slide with 6-3 triumph over Predators

65-million-year-old triceratops makes its debut in Victoria

Dino Lab Inc. is excavating the fossilized remains of a 65-million-year-old dinosaur

Front Street becomes permanent location for bus exchange

Nanaimo city council will look at safety upgrades, will work with RDN on design

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Time for a ban on leaf blowers

Loud noise can cause heart attacks, deafness and mental disorders, says letter writer

Nanaimo’s Kirkwood Academy presents 20th production of ‘The Nutcracker’

More than 150 dancers of all ages to participate in classic Christmas ballet Nov. 22-23

City of Nanaimo to issue alert as it moves to new emergency information system

Municipality will send out reminder Thursday, Nov. 21, asking residents to switch to new system

Most Read