New blockade suspends commuter rail service west of Toronto

New blockade halts rail

Hamilton police have no plans to move in on a blockade in the city that has halted traffic on a heavily travelled commuter rail line.

Const. Jerome Stewart said the demonstrators have been served a court injunction by Canadian National Railway Co., and no one else is allowed on the tracks.

"We are encouraging the protesters who have gathered there to leave the area peacefully," Stewart said at a news conference. "Right now we're going to continue to monitor the situation."

Thousands of commuters had their morning routines disrupted after the blockade popped up.

GO Train service in Hamilton and all points on the route to Niagara Falls, Ont., has been stopped since Monday evening, said Metrolinx spokeswoman Anne Marie Aikins.

Around 5:30 p.m. Monday more than a dozen people gathered on the tracks, which are owned by CN Rail, at a juncture in Hamilton, she said.

"We're standing by and waiting, there's not much action we can take," Aikins said.

The blockade is the latest in a series of disruptions orchestrated by protesters acting in support of the hereditary chiefs of the Wet'suwet'en First Nation, who oppose a natural gas pipeline project that crosses their traditional territory in northwestern British Columbia.

A group called Wet'suwet'en Strong: Hamilton in Solidarity, have claimed responsibility for the blockade.

"It's a new day, and we started it by burning the injunction delivered by CN rail!" the group wrote on Facebook.

"Remember why we're out here; the violence the state has perpetrated towards Indigenous land defenders and their supporters, the forced removal and criminalization of Indigenous people from their lands."

A new blockade also popped up in Sherbrooke, Que. on Tuesday morning.

About 20 people, their faces covered, set up along a rail line in the city's Lennoxville district about 150 kilometres east of Montreal. Protesters refused to speak to reporters on site, and Sherbrooke police have set up a security perimeter in the area.

The new blockades come just a day after police moved in on an encampment in Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory near Belleville, Ont.

Dozens of provincial police officers descended on the area Monday morning and arrested 10 demonstrators, who were charged and released with conditions. Police and CN removed the encampment and several vehicles that were parked next to the tracks. That encampment had been set up on Feb. 6.

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