First nations arrested at B.C. checkpoint accuse RCMP of "excessive force" of excessive force


First Nations members trapped at a checkpoint to keep natural gas pipeline workers out of their traditional territory say the RCMP response was excessive.

And they say that despite a police action at a checkpoint and bargaining agreement to open a second, the fight for pipelines in their territory is far from over.

Fourteen people were arrested Monday at Gitdumt Field, one of two checkpoints installed south of Houston, BC by Wet & # 39; suwet & # 39; en, First Nation opponents of the Coastal GasLink gas pipeline, which would link the Peace region to a future LNG plant in Kitimat.

Why RCMP arrested 14 people at Wet & # 39; suwet & # 39; en Camp and what happens next?

Police were enforcing a temporary injunction issued by the Board of Directors of England. Supreme Court in December preventing anyone from interfering with the gas company's work.

On Thursday, some of the campers were released after appearing in a Prince George courtroom.

"Everyone is dealing with the downfall of prisons and the events that have taken place. So people are not sleeping well, "said Molly Wickham, one of the self-described land protectors who control the checkpoints.

WATCH: "I understand your frustration": Justin Trudeau has a fiery exchange over LNG pipeline protests

Some of the prisoners accused the police of using excessive force to do away with what they insist is a peaceful camp.

"I saw the RCMP coming over the gate, wearing tactical camouflage equipment with assault rifles, they were so over-equipped that there was some confusion about whether or not the military was there," Liam Moore said.

"I saw up to four, five officers with assault races very aggressively knocking down people who did not resist jail, throw them in the snow, rubbing their faces in the snow with their knees at the nape of the neck, just a bunch of Abuse. Just too much abuse for elderly people who were there. "

READ MORE: B.C. Prime Minister John Horgan waiting for "peaceful resolution" to protest pipeline

Others claimed that the tools used by police to dismantle the blockade were inherently dangerous and used without regard to the safety of camp members.

"They used wire cutters and crushers to make their way through the gates, which they did," said Kat Roivas.

"And there were two people locked in front of the gates as they wielded their chainsaws and cutting tools. The people who were locked at the gate had a good chance of getting hurt.

Watch: Anti-pipeline protesters promise to continue fighting in northern BC

In response to the claims of detained members, RCMP North District spokesperson, Cpl. Madonna Saunderson said that Monday's "challenging situation" unfolded "according to [the RCMP’s] standard protocols ".

"Under the law, the RCMP may use reasonable force in the circumstances to implement the court order. This may include the use of physical restraint and arrests for people who have exceeded the limits of the courts for a peaceful, legal and safe protest, "she said.

READ MORE: Wet suwet opened the antipilot checkpoint after negotiations with the RCMP, saying "this is not over"

Saunderson said one of the detainees was examined by paramedics for complaints of a minor injury, and that an officer was also injured after being hit by a piece of wood.

"I know the actions of our police officers have been well documented through various video sources that include media, demonstrators and RCMP cameras," she said.

"In fact, we ourselves have seen the traditional social media coverage of the incident, which clearly stands in the way of some allegations made to you."

WATCH: Trudeau "satisfied" with the de-escalating after the arrests of the RCMP in the north of BC. block

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also faced questions about the handling of the fields on Wednesday while in Kamloops.

"I know there will be questions and it will be necessary to respond in the coming weeks about exactly what was done, which could have been done differently," Trudeau said.

"We are in a moment to discover how to do something new, which is to ensure that when we build projects, we get involved, listen and work with everyone who will be affected by it."

This response is likely to be unsatisfactory for Wet & # 39; suwet members insisting that their own laws and the Canadian Supreme Court have stated that the rights and titles over traditional territory lie with their hereditary chiefs who have not consented to the gas pipeline. project.

"Our struggle and our struggle to protect our territory is far from over. They can throw us in jail, they can try to make deals, they can do what they can to become good for the public, but I feel the public is very much aware of what's going on, "said Wickham.

"We have been firm and we remain firm that no pipeline will cross the territory of Wet? Suwet".

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.


Source link