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Police move in, arrest protesters near Port of Vancouver

PortandTerminal.com, February 26, 2020

Six people were taken into custody after police moved to clear a key entrance to the Port of Vancouver early Tuesday afternoon. Canadians are fed up with the blockades.

VANCOUVER, BC – Vancouver police said six people were arrested Tuesday for blocking the main entrance of the Port of Vancouver.

Demonstrators blocked three access points at the Port of Vancouver over several days earlier this month, until the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority got an injunction in B.C. Supreme Court to restore access to the port. Forty-three people were arrested at that time.

READ: At least 66 ships stalled off Canada’s west coast due to CN rail blockades

The latest blockade at the Port of Vancouver had gone on for nearly 24 hours in support of Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs who are against a 400-mile long natural gas pipeline being built through their traditional lands in northern B.C.

The Coastal GasLink pipeline itself is part of a $40-billion LNG export facility being built in Kitimat.

Map of British Columbia showing the proposed route of an pipeline
Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs who are against a 400-mile long natural gas pipeline being built through their traditional lands in northern B.C.

In a news release, the organizers of the blockade said it was in response to the “violent arrests of peaceful Mohawk land defenders on their ancestral lands in Tyendinaga, Ontario, as well as the brutal arrests of Gitxsan chiefs, elders, and matriarchs in New Hazelton, B.C.”

Mohawk Andrew Brant condemned arrests as a “crime against humanity,” compared police with security forces in Nazi Germany. “Justin Trudeau started a war. That’s the way all the Indigenous people see it across Canada and the United States and all the way to Bangladesh”

Canadian police are like the security forces in Nazi Germany? Please.

There has been no lack of hyperbole on both sides of the issue as Canadian authorities work to dismantle the blockades that have crippled rail and maritime logistics in Canada.

A police officer and Mohawk protestor who has been arrested share a chuckle.

The ongoing rail blockades have led to mass layoffs at CN Rail and VIA Rail. ACL Shipping line recently announced that it was bypassing the Port of Halifax on Canada’s east coast until the situation was resolved. Another shipping line, Hapag-Lloyd advised that it may need to do the same and bypass Halifax as well.

READ: Canada’s ports and terminals hammered by national rail blockages and shutdown

Meanwhile, in other parts of B.C., Indigenous youth and Wet’suwet’en locked themselves to the legislature in Victoria, while 14 people were arrested at a protest in New Hazelton overnight.

There are clear signs that most Canadians are now fed up with the ongoing disruptions that are hurting the economy and causing mass layoffs. “This should have been resolved weeks ago” complained Kevin Piper, head of ILA 269 in Halifax. Union members at ILA 269 have born the brunt of the cargo disruptions on the East Coast of Canada.

Police officers arrest a protester who has their face covered with a black scarf.
Police arrest a protester after a demonstration blocked a commuter rail track in north Toronto on Tuesday. The action was in support of the Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs and the Tyendinaga Mohawks amid ongoing disputes over the construction of the $6-billion Coastal GasLink natural gas pipeline in northern B.C. (Evan Mitsui/CBC)

Canadians want a peaceful resolution with its Indigenous people to the blockades. But they are not prepared to sit idly by and watch their economy be dragged into the dirt as they wait for one.

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