HOUSTON, B.C. — A natural gas pipeline company has posted an injunction order giving opponents 72-hours to clear the way toward its work site in northern British Columbia.
The order stamped Tuesday by the B.C. Supreme Court registry addresses members of the Wet’suwet’en Nation and supporters who say the project has no authority without consent from the five hereditary clan chiefs.
It comes one year after RCMP enforcement of a similar injunction along the same road sparked global rallies in support of Indigenous rights and raised questions about land claims.
The order requires the defendants to remove any obstructions including cabins and gates on any roads, bridges or work sites the company has been authorized to use.
If they don’t remove the obstructions themselves, the court says the company is at liberty to remove them.
It orders any peace officer to enforce the order, giving authorization to RCMP to arrest and remove anyone police have “reasonable or probable grounds” to believe has knowledge of the order and is contravening it.
“The police retain discretion as to timing and manner of enforcement of this Order,” it says.
The order does not apply to a metal gate on the west side of a bridge outside the Unist’ot’en camp, unless it is used to prevent or impede the workers’ access.
Fourteen people were arrested by armed officers at a checkpoint constructed along the road leading to both the Unist’ot’en camp and the Coastal GasLink work site on Jan. 7, 2019.
The B.C. Supreme Court granted Coastal GasLink the new injunction on Dec. 31.
The company has signed agreements with all 20 elected First Nation councils along the 670-kilometre pipeline route, but the five Wet’suwet’en hereditary clan chiefs say no one can access the land without their consent.
Coastal GasLink shared photos Tuesday of what it says are more than 100 trees that have been felled across the logging road.
At a press conference Tuesday, hereditary chief Na’moks called for construction to cease and for the B.C. government to revoke the company’s permits.
He said the Wet’suwet’en felled the trees to protect their own safety.
“Those trees put across the road were for our safety. We must look at the history of the RCMP one year ago and what they did to our people and the guests in our territory,” he said.
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