Approximately a dozen activists were on the corner of 5th Street and England Avenue in Courtenay Saturday, protesting the RCMP arrests of Wet’suwet’en land defenders at the Unist’ot’en camp south of Houston, B.C.
Barb Biley, one of the organizers of the rally, said the government and police action is unacceptable.
“The federal and provincial governments are refusing to follow basic international principles and principles that they themselves say they follow,” she said. “[They need to] meet with the Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs and discuss the issue and resolve the issue. They are trying to make it a law and order issue in order to attack people who are defending their hereditary lands. This is not acceptable in Canada. We are just part of a massive action that is taking place right across the country and even throughout the states.”
“I’m a Canadian, and I feel ashamed,” added Sally Gellard, another of the rally’s organizers. “If we can do this after 150 years of living in this country and taking Indigenous land and doing whatever we want with it… it’s now time to say ‘no’.”
As of Saturday afternoon, RCMP had arrested a total of 14 protesters at the Unist’ot’en camp.
The Wet’suwet’en land defenders are fighting to keep pipelines from running through their territory. The Unist’ot’en camp was first set up in 2010.