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More arrests as RCMP wind up enforcement action along Morice West Forest Service Road

Red dresses, in memory of murdered and missing women and girls, hung up at one of the blockades along Morice West Forest Service Road. Unist’ot’en photo

Seven more people were arrested at the Wet’suwet’en blockades along the Morice West Forest Service Road as RCMP wind up the major portion of their enforcement of a Supreme Court injunction against blockaders.

Just before 9 a.m. Monday, the RCMP made their way to the 66-kilometre mark, where a barricade has been placed across the Morice River Bridge. Police say they negotiated for approximately two hours to have the barricade gate opened by those who placed it there. The court-ordered injunction was read to the individuals who were present at scene on the other side of the bridge past the barricade.

Coastal GasLink (CGL) employees were able to remove the barricade gate from the Morice River Bridge, allowing both vehicles and foot traffic across the bridge.

RCMP officers were able to get to the other side of the camp. Individuals there were given the option to voluntarily leave the area or be arrested for breaching the court-ordered injunction. Media representatives and photographers were on scene to document the enforcement operation.

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Seven people were arrested for breaching the court-ordered injunction. No use of force was used, and no injuries resulted from the arrests, according to police. They have been transported to Houston RCMP Detachment where they can agree to be released on conditions or held for court.

According to the Unist’ot’en website, matriarchs Freda Huson (Chief Howihkat), Brenda Michell (Chief Geltiy), and Dr. Karla Tait were among those arrested Monday along with Victoria Redsun (Denesuline), Autumn Walken (Nlaka’pamux), and Pocholo Alen Conception.

“Our matriarchs were arrested while holding a ceremony to call on our ancestors and to honour missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls, according to the Unist’ot’en statement. “We, the Unist’ot’en, know that violence on our lands and violence on our women are connected.”

They had hung red dresses to remember the spirits of the murdered women and girls.

The RCMP says its major enforcement operations have now concluded. Once Coastal GasLink has confirmed the road and infrastructure are deemed safe and ready for full access, the temporary exclusion zone and access control point, that the RCMP has put in place on the Morice West Forest Service Road will be removed. The RCMP will continue to monitor the Morice West Forest Service Road in order to ensure it remains open and free from obstructions.

“I am very satisfied that this operation was conducted safely and there were no injuries sustained by anyone,” said Senior Commander Chief Superintendent David Attfield. “This was a very challenging situation, and I am proud of the professionalism displayed by our members.”

The Wet’suwet’en, however, remain defiant and acknowledged the support they have received across the country.

“We have the solidarity of our Indigenous relatives and allies with us,” according to the statement on their website. “We have the power of people shutting down railways, highways, ports, and government offices all around this country. These arrests don’t intimidate us. Police enforcement doesn’t intimidate us. Colonial court orders don’t intimidate us. Men in suits and their money don’t intimidate us. We are still here. We will always be there. This is not over.”

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