O

n Tuesday morning supporters of Wet'suwet'en land defenders blocked off a vital intersection in downtown Toronto to protest the Coastal GasLink Pipeline in British Columbia and ongoing raids by the RCMP on Wet'suwet'en land. 

About 20 people carried signs and peacefully shut down the intersection of Lakeshore Blvd. and Lower Spadina. Ave, periodically letting morning commuters through. The action was organized by Extinction Rebellion GTA, who go by XR GTA

January 18, 2022. Photo by Laura Proctor

According to their website, Extinction Rebellion is an international decentralized organization that uses "non-violent direct action and civil disobedience to persuade governments to act justly on the Climate and Ecological Emergency.”

“The reason we're here is because Coastal GasLink is continuing their raids with the RCMP to put their pipeline through, despite being told by Wet'suwet'en hereditary chiefs that they're not welcome,” Sierra Lefave, an Anishinaabe member of XR GTA, told The Hoser. 

Photo by Laura Proctor

The Coastal GasLink Pipeline is planned to stretch 670km across 22,000 square kilometers of unceded Wet’suwet’en land. Beginning in 2019, the RCMP has conducted violent raids on land defender encampments and checkpoints, arresting defenders and journalists.

“We're looking for the government to recognize that there's a climate change crisis that they have to acknowledge,” Lafave said. “Extinction Rebellion supports Indigenous rights because climate change is as much their fight as it is ours.”

Photo by Laura Proctor

Alex, a member of XR GTA who declined to give his last name, said they believe the RCMP is gearing up for a fourth raid on the drill site where Wet'suwet'en land defenders are camped. 

“We’re hoping not to get on anyone's bad side too much,” Alex said. “Our goal is not to ruin anyone's day or make anyone late for work. That is the inevitable result, but non-violent civil disobedience is our tactic of choice. And unfortunately, this sort of disruption is our best bet and our most effective tactic that we see going forward.”

There were as many Toronto Police as there were protestors, but the action remained peaceful and no arrests were made. 

Commuters largely remained respectful. XR GTA members held signs with QR codes and walked between cars whose passengers could scan and learn about Wet'suwet'en sovereignty.

January 18, 2022. Photo by Laura Proctor

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Posted 
Jan 18, 2022
 in 
Local News
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