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Police enforce injunction, set up exclusion zone along Morice West Forest Service Road

RCMP are enforcing the Supreme Court injunction order against anyone who interferes with the Coastal GasLink project in and around the Morice River Bridge or the area accessed by the Morice West Forest Service Road.

According to the Unist’ot’en website, six people have been arrested. The police have not confirmed whether any arrests have been made.

The access control checkpoint, which was created on January 13, to prevent further escalation of the situation and to mitigate safety concerns over hazardous items placed on the roadway, has now been established as a full exclusion zone. As of this morning the RCMP will not allow access to anyone who is not part of the enforcement team, with some exceptions for Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs and elected council members by arrangement with the senior commander.

Police say the exclusion zone’s purpose is to temporarily create an area where police and Coastal GasLink work can safely operate to deploy heavy machinery and equipment needed to clear hazards and re-establish access as intended by the court.

The court acknowledged various factors in its decision to add a police enforcement clause including the remoteness of the area, the number of protesters at the blockades that varied over time, and their refusal to voluntarily comply with the injunction order, say police.

Since that time, police say they have maintained a regular dialogue with the Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs and elected band councils, CGL, and government, to support or facilitate discussions in an effort to find a peaceful resolution, without the need for police enforcement.

Given the remoteness of the area and the difficulty of predicting how many resources are needed to respond to any situation, it is necessary to have the right resources available and then scale them back based on a continuous assessment, police say of the heavy RCMP presence.

There will continue to be a marked increase in police resources in the Houston area, police say, and patrols will be conducted on the ground as well as from the air to monitor the situation beyond the blockade of fallen trees and incendiary materials.

The local residents, media, and the motoring public may be inconvenienced during the injunction enforcement period as pedestrians and vehicles will not be allowed to enter the temporary exclusion zone.

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