VANCOUVER — Vancouver police said 33 people were arrested early Monday as officers in the city and in nearby Delta enforced an injunction preventing blockades at entrances to the Port of Vancouver and the DeltaPort container terminal.
Sgt. Aaron Roed said demonstrators were informed of the injunction Sunday night, shortly after it was obtained by the port authority, and those who refused to comply received several requests from police to clear blocked intersections before they were detained.
Police said traffic was disrupted during the morning rush hour along a major street parallel to terminals located in the downtown Vancouver port, but a webcam showed traffic was flowing to DeltaPort, the region’s largest container terminal, just after 8 a.m..
Port disruptions began Friday by demonstrators acting in solidarity with Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs opposed to construction of the Coastal GasLink natural gas pipeline across their traditional territories in northwestern British Columbia.
A spokeswoman for the protesters said the expedited, after-hours process used by the port authority to obtain the injunction on the weekend speaks to the impact of the demonstration.
“We are actively disrupting the money that’s coming in and out of the port to send a clear message that business as usual can’t keep going on if Indigenous people are under attack,” Natalie Knight said in a statement.
Support for the Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs has sparked a protest movement that spans from the steps of the B.C. legislature in Victoria to rail lines in Ontario and Quebec.
In northwestern B.C., Wet’suwet’en spokeswoman Jen Wickham said 14 people arrested for defying an exclusion zone along the remote construction site of the 670-kilometre Coastal GasLink pipeline were due in court Monday, charged with breach of trust.
The RCMP said Saturday that officers enforcing a court injunction arrested those barricaded in a warming centre in a forested area near the work site and those people would join the handful of others arrested Friday at another Indigenous camp near the pipeline route.
Premier John Horgan has said the pipeline, which is part of the massive $40 billion LNG Canada liquefied natural gas export terminal project, is of vital economic and social importance to the province’s north and already has the approval of 20 elected First Nations councils along the route from Dawson Creek to Kitimat.
He said the courts have decided the pipeline can proceed and the “rule of law” must prevail.