Wet’suwet’en solidarity protest shuts down Yonge and Dundas
Bryann Aguilar, CP24.com
Published Friday, February 14, 2020 6:31PM EST
Last Updated Friday, February 14, 2020 7:05PM EST
Dozens of people occupied a major downtown intersection to show their support of the Wet 'suwet' en hereditary chiefs who are opposing the construction of a pipeline on their territory.
The protestors marched from Trinity Square Labyrinth to Yonge and Dundas Square, impacting traffic during the afternoon rush.
The demonstration was organized by Extinction Rebellion Toronto and Climate Justice Toronto.
Many are carrying signs and chanting slogans condemning the actions of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police at the territory.
The blockades began last week after the RCMP enforced an injunction against Wet 'suwet' en hereditary chiefs and their supporters, who were blocking construction of the Coastal GasLink natural gas pipeline.
Other rail blockades sprang up in other parts of the country in solidarity with the Wet 'suwet' en. Most notably, a blockade near Belleville has shut down rail traffic between Toronto and Montreal and Toronto and Ottawa for days.
The protests led to CN eventually shutting down its eastern railway network, as well as Via Rail train cancellations nationwide on Thursday.
Leslie Solomonian said the protest is a way to disrupt the status quo so that more people are aware of the situation in British Columbia.
"The government of Canada is unlawfully invading territory of people who've been stewards of it for thousands of years."
She said the federal government is "highly problematic and hypocritical" for declaring a climate emergency, but then buying a pipeline.
In response to Andrew Scheer's comments on activists checking their privilege, Jordi Little said the Conservative leader is being "salty" because he lost in the elections.
Scheer said a small number of demonstrators cannot be allowed to hold the economy hostage and threaten thousands of jobs.
“These activists may have the luxury of spending days at a time at a blockade, but they need to check their privilege,” Scheer said.
"It is not a privilege for people there who are fighting for the integrity of their land," she said.
“This is life or death for the land defenders out there. This is their unceded territory.”
-with files from The Canadian Press