An Indigenous-led demonstration blocked railroad tracks for three hours on Sunday in response to the arrest of 15 people in the Waite’suwaton area, British Columbia, near Bartlett Avenue and DuPont Street in western Toronto.
According to the organisers, the demonstration was organized to show solidarity with “the Vetswetten Land Defenders who now sit in jail for being on their territory”. Facebook,
Those arrested last week included two Wetsuwatan elders, three Houdenosouni members, three legal observers and two Canadian journalists, the organizers noted.
“Wet land guards should not have been arrested. He should be released now,” said Rising Tide Toronto spokeswoman Vanessa Gray, who is Anishinaabe. He said the demonstration drew a crowd of around 100 together.
The arrests in B.C. came after a blockade was set up last week by the Gidimten clan – one of five in the Wet’suwetan Nation – in an effort to prevent the Coastal GasLink from moving along a pipeline that would drill under Wadzin. Kwa River, a sacred headwater.
Eve Saint, a Wetsuwatan land guard who grew up in Toronto, said she took part in the protest to stand in solidarity with her sister, Jocelyn Alec, and her sister’s partner, Houdenosouni supporter Teka’sihassere Corey Joko, who says both were arrested. Friday.
“The RCMP attacked the camps and they became very heavy,” said the saint.
Starr has previously reported on RCMP action, which called for the addition of canine units and heavy machinery to tactical gear in the Giedimtain blockade.
“They send a hundred RCMPs to protect a pipeline and not protect people’s lives, so we need to push back. They planted industry, they planted fracking, they poured gas and oil on everybody’s life,” said Saint, who was arrested last year during the last Wet’suwaton raid that helped spark the Shutdown Canada movement.
“The post-traumatic stress is real,” she said. “As Indigenous peoples, we do not like to see these images of our relatives and loved ones being invaded by these colonial forces.”
Photographer Amber Bracken, on assignment for The Narwhal, and photographer and filmmaker Michael Toledano, a freelance reporter living in the Wet’suweton area for a documentary, were also arrested and continue to be held in custody.
“Some of us are angry and we keep it in our hearts, but coming together in solidarity, that’s love – we have love for land guards, we have love for each other, which It’s for our kids.” Said the saint.