The demonstration also shut down the intersection of Kootenay and Baker Streets. Photo: Tyler Harper

UPDATE Feb. 18: Nelson’s Bank of Montreal branch re-opens after pipeline sit-in

Wet’suwet’en supporters left the bank over the weekend

The Bank of Montreal in Nelson opened Tuesday after being closed since Thursday because of an occupation by activists demanding the bank divest itself from financially supporting the Coastal GasLink LNG pipeline.

The sit-in began on Wednesday and continued inside the bank 24 hours per day into the weekend.

On the first day, participants crowded the lobby, wrapped themselves around a post and denounced the $6.6-billion pipeline, which is being partially built on Wet’suwet’en territory in the face of opposition from hereditary chiefs.

“If it can happen on one territory it’s going to happen time and time again,” said demonstrator Anne Marie Child.

“This is the people uprising and we’re showing our support and solidarity with the Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs, the Wet’suwet’en people and Indigenous youth.”

On Thursday and Friday, a security guard stood inside the entrance, not letting anyone enter. If any of the small group of occupiers sitting in a circle on the floor in the bank lobby left to get food or use the bathroom, he said, they wouldn’t be let back in.

About 20 others gathered with signs on the sidewalk outside.

The demonstration also shut down the intersection of Kootenay and Baker Streets on Feb. 12, although that had cleared by the next day. Officers from the Nelson Police Department were on hand, but said they wouldn’t remove activists from the bank.

A report last month by the environmental activist organization Rainforest Action Network cited a $4.3-billion loan by BMO to TransCanada Pipelines as part of the pipeline project, which will carry natural gas 670 kilometres from Dawson Creek, B.C. to an LNG facility near Kitimat.

Scotiabank, CIBC, Toronto Dominion and Royal Bank of Canada were also said to be supporting the project in various ways.

BMO management declined to comment on the end of the occupation. Participants in the demonstration could also not be reached for comment.

“Although our officers were involved with this dispute from the beginning and assisted when needed,” said Nelson police chief Paul Burkart, “it was the representatives from both BMO and the protestor group that allowed this to come to a peaceful conclusion when it did without police intervention.”

Related:

Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs take Canada’s environmental assessment system to court

VIDEO: John Horgan denounces B.C. legislature anti-pipeline siege

B.C. touts Indigenous reconciliation in protest-delayed throne speech

• Wet’suwet’en and B.C. government have been talking Aboriginal title for a year

• Trudeau tightlipped on plan to end protests ‘quickly and peacefully’

• Federal emergency group meets on pipeline protests as rail blockades continue

Coastal GasLinkprotest

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

 

The activists encouraged bank customers to take their money elsewhere. Photo: Tyler Harper

Local activists stage a sit in at Nelson’s Bank of Montreal branch Wednesday. The demonstration was meant to shed light on BMO’s financial stake in the Coastal GasLink pipeline. Photo: Tyler Harper

Just Posted

Stroke survivors lean on each other in Nelson

‘I’ve learned more about strokes from being in the group than I did from anyone else’

Rossland rookie councillors offer advice to prospective candidates

Something to read before you decide to run in the upcoming by-election

Organic waste pick-up expected by 2022 in RDCK

But there are many unanswered questions in Nelson about cost and details

Nelson and RDCK both eyeing waste wood to produce energy

Nelson’s five-year-old business plan will resurface at council table this summer

Investigation ongoing into death of Warfield woman

West Kootenay Traffic Services and BC Coroners Service working on the case

Blair says RCMP have met Wet’suwet’en conditions, so barricades should come down

The Wet’suwet’en’s hereditary chiefs oppose the Coastal GasLink project

B.C., federal ministers plead for meeting Wet’suwet’en dissidents

Scott Fraser, Carolyn Bennett standing by to return to Smithers

B.C. mom’s complaint about ‘R word’ in children’s ministry email sparks review

In 2020, the ‘R’ word shouldn’t be used, Sue Robins says

New Jamie Bacon trial for counselling to commit murder charge set for March 3

The trial is set to start on March 3 at B.C. Supreme Court

Federal minister pledges to meet Wet’suwet’en chiefs in B.C. over natural gas pipeline

The Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs say they are visiting Mohawk territory

2010 leader John Furlong urges Vancouver to bid for 2030 Winter Games

VANOC said the 2010 games broke even financially

Pipeline dispute: Tories put no-confidence motion on House of Commons agenda

Conservatives say they have no confidence in the Trudeau government to end the rail blockades

Canadians aboard coronavirus-ridden cruise ship to return home tonight

Among the infected are 47 Canadians who will have to remain in Japan for treatment

Most Read