New York City — A picket line outside the Canadian Consulate near busy Grand Central Station on Jan. 8 protested the attack by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) and Canadian military on the Gidum T’en checkpoint and an impending raid on the Unist’ot’en Camp in the region Canada calls British Columbia.
At least 14 people were arrested in the Jan. 7 police assault.
Actions were planned in more than 60 cities in Canada, the U.S. and other countries as part of an International Day of Solidarity with the Wet’suwet’en people, who face violent and unlawful raids for defending their sovereign territory from TransCanada’s Coastal Gaslink Pipeline project. Thousands rallied in Toronto, Canada’s largest city.
On Dec. 14, the Supreme Court of British Columbia issued an injunction granting TransCanada the go-ahead for its gas pipeline, clearing the way for the government attack. All five clans of the Indigenous Wet’suwet’en nation are united in opposing the project.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who likes to posture as a progressive, has been silent.
At the New York action, activists chanted “Canada! Take a stand! No access to Native land!” They handed out fliers calling for solidarity with the Wet’suwet’en while demanding an end to threats of police-military invasion.
The statement read in part, “We stand as witnesses to this historic moment when the federal and provincial governments can choose to follow the principles of reconciliation and respect the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, or respond by perpetuating and entrenching the ongoing legacy of colonization in Canada.
“We are now preparing for a protracted struggle. The hereditary chiefs of the Wet’suwet’en and the land defenders holding the front lines have no intention of allowing Wet’suwet’en sovereignty to be violated.”
Some passersby who took leaflets drew the connection with the struggle of the Standing Rock water defenders in North Dakota and other ongoing battles for Indigenous sovereignty in the U.S.
For the latest updates, go to the Unist’ot’en Camp Facebook page.