Hundreds of people gathered for a loud protest at the RCMP’s Quebec headquarters in Montreal on Saturday afternoon.
They were demonstrating in solidarity with the Wet’suwet’en people who oppose a natural gas pipeline project that would run through the First Nation’s territory in northern British Columbia.
“How would you like it if each of you went home today and the RCMP is saying, ‘No, you can’t go in here,’” said Montreal-based Wet’suwet’en elder Marlene Hale, who played a drum to kick off the protest.
Just over a week ago the RCMP arrested 15 people, including two journalists.
The RCMP was enforcing a B.C. Supreme Court-ordered injunction that stops opponents from impeding access to Coastal GasLink’s activities, permitted under Canadian law.
“Shame on you! Go away!” the crowd yelled in unison.
Archie Fineberg said at almost 80 years old, it was the first protest he’d ever attended.
“It’s time that the Indigenous people in Canada stop being abused and it’s time for the Canadian people, starting with the government, to respect the commitments they have made,” he said.
Environmentalists and other groups also joined the rally, which was watched closely by a large contingent of Montreal police in riot gear. They kept the demonstrators from getting close to the doors of the RCMP building.
“I came down from Kanesatake,” said Alan Harrington. “To show solidarity with the Wet’suwet’en nation against the trespassing and the terrorism that the RCMP is doing on our on our Indigenous people.”
After some spirited speeches, the rally turned into a march through downtown Montreal.
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