Exit 117 to the Comox Valley was blocked off as of Monday morning. Photo by Mike Chouinard

Wet’suwet’en supporters close down part of highway in Comox Valley

Entrance, exit closures keep stretch of Highway 19 free of traffic Monday morning

Wet’suwet’en supporters set up in the early hours of Monday morning, blocking off Highway 19 exits and entrances in the Comox Valley area.

The north exit at Exit 117 to the Comox Valley and the south entrance to the highway were closed off. A group of about 25 activists had spread out to block off areas earlier, leaving the stretch of highway abandoned. RCMP members were on the scene to monitor the situation, while road crews blocked off lanes to the entrance below the overpass.

“We took the highway 12 o’clock Sunday night, and we’ve been holding it since,” the group’s local liaison, Kiyoshi Kosky, said Monday morning.

RELATED STORY: Courtenay activists protest RCMP arrests of Wet’suwet’en land defenders

Rallies and protests of the RCMP’s handling of Wet’suwet’en members protesting Coastal GasLink pipeline plans in the traditional Wet’suwet’en territory of northeast B.C. have increased around the province in recent days.

“The purpose is for us is to be here and be in solidarity with the Indigenous youth that are currently locked down in the legislature, which are then in support of the Wet’suwet’en Nation – in support of their constitutional rights, their human rights and their unceded rights under Canadian law that are being violated and broken,” Kosky said.

However, the local situation between the police and the activists on Monday was calm, as Kosky said they want to ensure both the safety of the general public traveling in their vehicles and their land and water protection allies.

“We have been appreciative in how the RCMP have conducted themselves,” he said.

As of late Monday morning, it was still unclear how long the route might be blocked. Kosky said that as of that moment, the RCMP in northeast B.C. was using a sound cannon against unarmed Wet’suwet’en people and blocking their movement.

“It’s up to civil society to say, ‘That’s not OK,’” he said. “The government is acting as a police state against its own people, and nowhere in civil society should that ever be OK.”

RELATED STORY: Six arrested as RCMP enforce injunction at Wet’suwet’en anti-pipeline camps

He emphasized that because First Nations had not signed away their rights through a treaty, the authorities have no right to remove them from protests. The group hopes the public, as a takeaway from the highway closure, will educate itself about the environmental and Indigenous issues at the heart of the dispute.

The Record has called the RCMP for comment about the highway closure, but has yet to hear back.



mike.chouinard@comoxvalleyrecord.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Protestors hoisted placards on the overpass. Photo by Mike Chouinard

Some of the group set up with signs at the southbound entrance to Highway 19. Photo by Mike Chouinard

Protesters stressed environmental and legal rights issues with the highway closure on Monday. Photo by Mike Chouinard

Just Posted

Tsolum River Restoration Society members keeping busy during COVID-19 times

Young fish can get stranded in the most unlikely of places

Police looking for witnesses to Courtenay bear spray assault

The incident took place Tuesday, May 26 at around 8:30 p.m.

2020 Hornby Island trade tokens of sentimental value only

The Hornby Island Token Project is in its third and final year,… Continue reading

Box containing hundreds of family photos found in Courtenay returned to rightful owner

Local media sources collaborate to solve family photos mystery

Mission prison COVID-19 outbreak ends, 9 new cases in B.C.

New positive test at Port Coquitlam care home

Comox Valley business map offers information on local eateries, grocery stores and more

Search and click for hours and services offered during the COVID-19 pandemic

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world in ways that would have… Continue reading

RCMP told of alleged assault in Courtenay hours after the fact

Police only made aware of possible attack through social media posts

Man who bound, murdered Vancouver Island teen still a risk to public: parole board

Kimberly Proctor’s killer is still ‘mismanaging emotions,’ has had ‘temper tantrums’

VIDEO: Humpback whales put on quite a show

The ‘playful’ pod lingered by a Campbell River tour operator’s boat for quite some time

Getting hitched at historic B.C. gold rush town still on table during COVID-19 pandemic

Micro-weddings, online visits, offered at Barkerville Historic Town and Park

Stolen gargoyle returns to its perch on central Vancouver Island yard

Petey, a concrete gargoyle statue, was returned by Nanaimo RCMP after being found by city crew

Revelstoke woman finds welcoming letter on her Alberta-registered truck

There have been multiple reports online of vandalism to vehicles with Alberta licence plates

Most Read