Pipeline protestors gather at Vernon courthouse

Courthouse pipeline protest

A number of protesters gathered outside of the Vernon courthouse on Sunday afternoon to show their solidarity with the Wet'suwet'en people. The protesters were voicing their displeasure and concern with the Coastal Gaslink pipeline project, and the behaviour from the RCMP toward the Wet'suwet'en people.

"They're trying to illegally put a pipeline through their territory," says Taylor Louis, who was among the protesters. "It's also illegal for the RCMP to be on unceded Wet'suwet'en land."

But there are Indigenous leaders who are in support of the pipeline project. 20 elected First Nations band councils who are along the route are in favour of the pipeline, which includes the elected Wet'suwet'en chiefs. It's the majority of the hereditary leaders who are opposed to the pipeline. The traditional chiefs say the project can't move forward without their consent, even though the elected chiefs support it.

The protesters in Vernon stand with the hereditary chiefs, and say the elected officials who support the pipeline are only looking at the short-term gains.

"They are supporting it because they say the pipeline will create new jobs," says Louis. "But those are just temporary jobs – once the pipeline is built those jobs are gone."

There was a smaller protest in the Swan Lake area earlier this week along Highway 97.

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