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

Terrace cab stolen, found destroyed along Hwy 16 riverbank at rest stop near Prince Rupert

Driver was sent to hospital after stealing the running vehicle from company lot

CGL must revise impact assessment on Unist’ot’en Healing Center

Environmental Assessment Office not satisfied with report’s shortcomings

Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs call for end of police patrols

Temporary closure of field office not enough to meet demands

Vandals cause damage estimated at $3,000

“It was just malicious, stupid, drunken behaviour” - Thwaites

Confusion surrounds terms of RCMP withdrawal from pipeline construction area

B.C. Deputy Commissioner clarifies terms of agreement following minister’s statements

VIDEO: Minister says consider coronavirus outbreak when planning for spring break

Foreign Affairs minister points to rash of new cases appearing in places like Italy and Iran

B.C. man who pulled a gun on off-duty cop gets two years in prison

Encounter also lead police to a home where 100 guns and explosives were found

‘It’s like he just vanished’: Quesnel man still missing, last seen two months ago

WARNING: This story contains references to suicide and may not be appropriate for all audiences.

Protecting privacy key to stopping spread of COVID-19, B.C. health officials say

The number of coronavirus cases in B.C. remains at seven

COLUMN: Forestry no longer close to top of B.C.’s economy

Our reactions to a forestry downturn reflect the past, not the present

Caught on camera: Police release video of man who allegedly stole seaplane in Vancouver

Police say the man broke into the Harbour Air terminal and then got into one of the seaplanes in the harbour

51 health professionals send letter to Trudeau, Horgan panning northern B.C. pipeline

They point to studies about the health and climate change risks from pipeline

Most Read