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Hundreds march in streets

UPDATE: 1:15 p.m.

Pipeline protests in support of a native blockade in Northern B.C. drew hundreds of people in B.C., Tuesday.

Crowds estimated at 300 strong spilled into downtown Vancouver streets, closing roads between the provincial courthouse and Victory Square, CTV News reports.

Police closed roads and guided the group as it marched and chanted.

Protesters also turned out in Victoria, where a group called "Rise and Resist" rallied outside the provincial legislature in support of the Wet'suwet'en First Nation.

– with files from CTV Vancouver


UPDATE: noon

Dozens of protesters are delaying an appearance by the prime minister Tuesday afternoon, drumming and chanting in a government building where Justin Trudeau was set to speak.

Police have kept Trudeau out of a Sussex Drive office building in Ottawa, where he's to address a forum bringing together federal officials and representatives from self-governing First Nations that have "modern" treaties with the Crown.

The protesters are angry about the RCMP's intervention in a blockade in northern British Columbia, enforcing an injunction from the B.C. Supreme Court.

The injunction is to remove anyone who interferes with a Coastal GasLink pipeline project in and around the Morice River Bridge.

Members of the Gidimt'en clan of the Wet'suwet'en First Nation have set up a camp and a checkpoint southwest of Houston, B.C., on a forest-service road that leads to a pipeline construction site.

Coastal GasLink says it has signed agreements with all First Nations along the route but demonstrators say Wet'suwet'en house chiefs, who are hereditary rather than elected, have not given consent.

The federal NDP's reconciliation critic says the justification used for the RCMP's intervention is "pretty lame" in an era of supposed reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples.

Romeo Saganash joined demonstrators on Parliament Hill before the group marched through downtown Ottawa streets with signs including a large red one reading: "RCMP Off Wet'suwet'en Land."

Saganash says he did not hear back from the provincial and federal Indigenous-affairs ministers he asked to help alleviate tension in northern B.C. prior to the arrests by the Mounties.


ORIGINAL: 11 a.m.

Dozens of rallies are planned in British Columbia, across Canada and as far away as Europe to support pipeline protesters arrested in northwestern B.C.

Fourteen people were taken into custody Monday at a blockade southwest of Houston, B.C., where members of the Gidimt'en clan of the Wet'suwet'en First Nation had set up a camp to control access to a pipeline project across their territory.

An RCMP statement says the arrests came after officers realized a resolution was unlikely, even though they had spoken with camp members about removing the blockade and set up a meeting between hereditary chiefs and the pipeline company.

Police say a temporary exclusion zone is now in place along the remote road and will be consistently re-assessed.

TransCanada subsidiary Coastal GasLink obtained an injunction ordering removal of obstructions in area as preliminary work gets underway on a pipeline carrying natural gas from northeastern B.C. to Kitimat.

A social media message posted early Tuesday on a site supporting the Gidimt'en says "we are now preparing for a protracted struggle."

LNG Canada announced in October that it was moving ahead with its plans for a $40-billion pipeline and liquefied natural gas export facility in Kitimat.

Construction on the $6.2-billion, 670 kilometre pipeline connecting gas producers in the Dawson Creek area with the Kitimat export plant, is scheduled to begin this month.

TransCanada says it has signed agreements with all First Nations along the route but demonstrators argue Wet'suwet'en house chiefs, who are hereditary rather than elected, have not given consent for work through their territories.



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