Access to the Swartz Bay ferry terminal is being blocked by protesters in support of the Wet’suwet’en First Nation. (Cynthia Johson/Twitter)

Pipeline protesters block access to Victoria ferry in support of B.C. First Nation

Motorists unable to access 7 a.m. sailing

Protesters are blocking the Swartz Bay ferry terminal outside of Victoria “by land and kayak” in solidarity with a B.C. First Nation’s opposition to a natural gas pipeline in northern B.C.

Both the 7 a.m. sailings from Swartz Bay and Tsawwassen, on the mainland, were held back while BC Ferries said it was determining “the scope of the protest.”

The 7 a.m. sailing out of Tsawwassen left 70 minutes behind schedule and the 9 a.m. sailing was cancelled. Ferries were also held back at Otter Bay and Village Bay in the southern Gulf Islands because of safety concerns with kayakers in the water.

Protesters began to clear the Swartz Bay terminal just before 9 a.m.

The hereditary chiefs of the Wet’suwet’en nation have been fighting the construction of the Coastal GasLink pipeline through their untreatied territory near Smithers and Houston.

Protesters in Victoria said they are targeting BC Ferries because proposed upgrades to two of its vessels “will make them reliant on the very product that [Coastal GasLink] threatens to bring through Wet’suwet’en territory.”

RELATED: B.C. hereditary chiefs ban Coastal GasLink from Wet’suwet’en lands

Protest spokesperson Kolin Sutherland-Wilson of the Gitxsan First Nation – a neighbouring territory – said the group is composed of allies and young First Nations people from across the province.

“The more people learn about what’s happening, the more details, the more they want to get out there and make a statement,” Sutherland-Wilson said. “British Columbia’s policy towards unceded Indigenous nations has regressed to where it was over 100 years ago.”

The Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs issued an eviction notice to the company on Jan. 4, demanding contractors and staff leave the territory and cease operations.

He said the demonstration was in support of that, and in opposition to any police force used to gain control over the work site, referring to the RCMP raids on a particular checkpoint on Jan. 7.

Sutherland-Wilson said RCMP were at the terminal, but not removing protesters.

Premier John Horgan has said the pipeline will proceed, citing court rulings in favour of the project, approval from 20 Indigenous nations, and its economic and social importance to the region.

– with a file from The Canadian Press

RELATED: UVic students walk out in solidarity with Wet’suwet’en First Nation



nina.grossman@blackpress.ca

Follow us on Instagram
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

Just Posted

Trucking company fined $175K for Lemon Creek fuel spill

Decision handed down last Friday in Nelson court

Interior Health leading the way with innovative therapy for stroke patients

Percentage of ischemic stroke patients who received treatment has risen dramatically

Missing Nelson woman found dead

Police say there is no evidence of a crime in the death of Heather Gunderson

Foul play involved in Slocan Valley man’s death, police say

RCMP have identified dead man as 47-year-old Aaron Graham

Hidden message connects Castlegar homeowners decades apart

The Rodgers family was surprised when a message fell out of the walls as they were renovating

VIDEO: Wet’suwet’en supporters vow to keep protesting at B.C. legislature

Supporters say they will continue ongoing action to hold government accountable

VIDEO: Province promotes ‘lifting each other up’ on 13th annual Pink Shirt Day

Students, MLAs, community members gathered at B.C. Parliament Buildings Wednesday

Prepare for new coronavirus like an emergency, health minister advises

About 81,000 people around the world have now become ill with COVID-19

B.C. residents in Wet’suwet’en territory have right to police presence: Public Safety Minister

Nevertheless, Bill Blair said officials remain ‘very anxious’ for the barricades to come down

Winnipeg police investigating graffiti on RCMP and other buildings

Manitoba Justice Minister Cliff Cullen denounced the vandalism

B.C. seniors’ watchdog calls for better oversight after recent problems at Retirement Concepts care homes

‘There is no financial incentive right now to be a good operator’ - Isobel Mackenzie

B.C. city rebrands with new logo, cheeky slogan

‘Langford, where it all happens’ is the City’s new slogan

B.C. Liberals call for ban on foreign funds to pipeline protesters

Sierra Club, Wilderness Committee back Coastal GasLink blockades

Donations pour in for family who lost father, son in fatal crash on B.C. highway

Mike Cochlin and sons Liam and Quinn were travelling on Highway 5A

Most Read