News “The world is watching” : Arrests made as RCMP enforce injunction on Wet’suwet’en territory SHARE ON: Catherine Garrett, staff Thursday, Feb. 6th, 2020 File Photo of RCMP liaisons at Gidimt'en checkpoint on Morice West Forest Service Road near Houston | Photo: MyPGNow Staff Coastal GasLink (CGL) opponents are condemning the arrests of protestors, after RCMP began to enforce the December 31 injunction today (Thursday). Following at least 6 arrests at the Morice West Forest Service Road Area early this morning, The Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs (UBCIC) is outraged and in a state of ‘painful anguish’ according to a news release. “Forcing Indigenous peoples off their own territory is in complete and disgusting violation of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP), which the Horgan government recently committed to upholding through Bill 41, and which the Trudeau government has also committed to upholding through yet to be introduced legislation,” said Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, President of UBCIC. The Union said it’s calling on the RCMP to stand down, and for Premier John Horgan to meet with Wet’suwet’en Hereditary Chiefs. “Indigenous rights are human rights and they cannot be ignored or sidestepped for any reason in the world, and certainly not for economic interest,” stated Phillip. The RCMP released a statement early Thursday (Feb 6) about the enforcement of the injunction. It said the former RCMP access control checkpoint that was implemented earlier in January has now turned into a full exclusion zone. “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 reestablish access as intended by the court.” RCMP encouraged protestors to leave the area or face arrest, saying Supreme Court orders are mandatory instructions and not ‘optional invitations.’ According to the Union, they do not believe the Crown and RCMP tried every option to prevent the dispute from escalating. “There are always options that can be taken by the Crown. It is never an option to have a pipeline go through the territory of the proper Title and Rights holders who have not provided their consent. ” The Wet’suwet’en Hereditary Chiefs are not surprised the exclusion zone is happening again, according to Chief Woos. “It’s all orchestrated by BC, CGL and the RCMP they’re all working together obviously.” The RCMP has said it will not allow access to anyone who is not a part of the enforcement team, but there will be some exceptions for Wet’suwet’en Hereditary Chiefs and Elected Council members by arrangement with the Senior Commander. CGL president, David Pfeiffer released a statement this morning on the RCMP exclusion zone saying the company finds the situation disappointing. “This is not the outcome we wanted. We have made exceptional efforts to resolve this blockade through engagement and dialogue. Over the past month and over many years, we’ve reached out to the Hereditary Chiefs, over and over, but to no avail. It’s truly unfortunate that we were unable to find a path forward that allowed for the construction of Coastal GasLink with the support of all,” he said. Chief Woos emphasized that even while the injunction is being enforced the Hereditary Chiefs are still willing to have discussions for a resolution. “If Premier Horgan and his Ministers, if they have the go and at it to sit down with us now they can certainly do so,” he said. Skeena- Bulkley Valley MP Taylor Bachrach also called on the Federal Government and for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to meet with the Wet’suwet’en Hereditary Chiefs. “The world is watching and no one wants to see last January’s confrontation repeated.” “This government’s promise of reconciliation is on the line and the chiefs have asked to meet with this Prime Minister. Why is he refusing to meet with them?” said Bachrach. Chief Woos said he was glad the MP spoke up in the house of commons. “It’s Trudeau that needs to sit with us as well. If he’s listening out there, Trudeau come on over we’re willing to talk to you.” The enforcement of the injunction comes after the RCMP provided an update at the headquarters in Surrey Wednesday afternoon (Feb 5). With files from Lindsay Newman, My Bulkley Lakes Now.