Protestors hoisted placards on the overpass. Photo by Mike Chouinard

Protestors hoisted placards on the overpass. Photo by Mike Chouinard

Wet’suwet’en supporters close down part of Island highway

Entrance, exit closures keep Comox Valley stretch of Highway 19 free of traffic

Wet’suwet’en supporters set up in the early hours of Monday morning, blocking off Highway 19 exits and entrances in the Comox Valley area.

The north exit at Exit 117 to the Comox Valley and the south entrance to the highway were closed off. A group of about 25 activists had spread out to block off areas earlier, leaving the stretch of highway abandoned. RCMP members were on the scene to monitor the situation, while road crews blocked off lanes to the entrance below the overpass.

“We took the highway 12 o’clock Sunday night, and we’ve been holding it since,” the group’s local liaison, Kiyoshi Kosky, said Monday morning.

RELATED STORY: Courtenay activists protest RCMP arrests of Wet’suwet’en land defenders

Rallies and protests of the RCMP’s handling of Wet’suwet’en members protesting Coastal GasLink pipeline plans in the traditional Wet’suwet’en territory of northeast B.C. have increased around the province in recent days.

“The purpose is for us is to be here and be in solidarity with the Indigenous youth that are currently locked down in the legislature, which are then in support of the Wet’suwet’en Nation – in support of their constitutional rights, their human rights and their unceded rights under Canadian law that are being violated and broken,” Kosky said.

However, the local situation between the police and the activists on Monday was calm, as Kosky said they want to ensure both the safety of the general public traveling in their vehicles and their land and water protection allies.

“We have been appreciative in how the RCMP have conducted themselves,” he said.

As of late Monday morning, it was still unclear how long the route might be blocked. Kosky said that as of that moment, the RCMP in northeast B.C. was using a sound cannon against unarmed Wet’suwet’en people and blocking their movement.

“It’s up to civil society to say, ‘That’s not OK,’” he said. “The government is acting as a police state against its own people, and nowhere in civil society should that ever be OK.”

RELATED STORY: Six arrested as RCMP enforce injunction at Wet’suwet’en anti-pipeline camps

He emphasized that because First Nations had not signed away their rights through a treaty, the authorities have no right to remove them from protests. The group hopes the public, as a takeaway from the highway closure, will educate itself about the environmental and Indigenous issues at the heart of the dispute.

The Record has called the RCMP for comment about the highway closure, but has yet to hear back.



mike.chouinard@comoxvalleyrecord.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Some of the group set up with signs at the southbound entrance to Highway 19. Photo by Mike Chouinard

Some of the group set up with signs at the southbound entrance to Highway 19. Photo by Mike Chouinard

Protesters stressed environmental and legal rights issues with the highway closure on Monday. Photo by Mike Chouinard

Protesters stressed environmental and legal rights issues with the highway closure on Monday. Photo by Mike Chouinard

Exit 117 to the Comox Valley was blocked off as of Monday morning. Photo by Mike Chouinard

Exit 117 to the Comox Valley was blocked off as of Monday morning. Photo by Mike Chouinard

Just Posted

Nikita, a four-year-old German Shepherd that was attacked by a buck in a backyard in Esquimalt Sunday is lucky the injury wasn't more severe. (Photo contributed by Suzette Goldsworthy)
Esquimalt dog owner issues alert after deer injures German shepherd

Nikita needed stitches after an early morning encounter

Capital Regional District Animal Control say an eight-month-old Rottweiler bit a Langford mother and her child near Glen Lake on Nov. 19. (Black Press Media file photo)
Large dog attacks mother and child in Langford

Mother puts three-year-old on top of car to protect him

The Victoria Police Department headquarters. (Black Press Media file photo)
Investigation launched into man’s death after arrest in Victoria

IIO investigation to determine if police actions or inaction played a role in the man’s death

(Black Press Media file photo)
Police arrest man covered in blood on heels of significant Saanich crash into woods

Resident calls in home invasion in progress after crash

Brenda Schroeder thought she was reading it wrong when she won $100,000 from a Season’s Greetings Scratch & Win. (Courtesy BCLC)
New home on the agenda after scratch ticket win in Saanich

Victoria woman set to share her $100,000 Season’s Greetings lottery win

People wearing face masks to help curb the spread of COVID-19 cross a street in downtown Vancouver, on Sunday, November 22, 2020. The use of masks is mandatory in indoor public and retail spaces in the province. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. reports 17 COVID deaths, 1,933 new cases as hospitalizations surge over the weekend

There are 277 people in hospital, of whom 59 are in ICU or critical care

An aerial shot of Cedar Valley Lodge this past August, LNG Canada’s newest accommodation for workers at the project site in Kitimat. This is where several employees are isolating after a COVID-19 outbreak was declared last Thursday (Nov. 19). (Photo courtesy of LNG Canada)
Forty-one positive COVID-19 cases associated with the LNG Canada site outbreak in Kitimat

Thirty-four of the 41 cases remain active, according to Northern Health

Workers arrive at the Lynn Valley Care Centre seniors home, in North Vancouver, B.C., on Saturday, March 14, 2020. It was the site of Canada’s first COVID-19 outbreak in a long-term care facility. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Rapid tests ‘not a panacea’ for care homes, Dr. Bonnie Henry says

B.C. lacks capacity for daily tests of thousands of workers

(Delta Police Department photo)
Cannabis edibles found in Halloween bag lead B.C. police to illegal lab

Delta police arrested a man and a woman while executing a warrant at a residential property Nov. 20

A woman being arrested at a Kelowna Value Village after refusing to wear a mask on Nov. 22.(@Jules50278750/Twitter)
VIDEO: Woman arrested for refusing to wear mask at Kelowna Value Village

RCMP claims the woman was uncooperative with officers, striking them a number of times and screaming

B.C. Liberal MLA Shirley Bond questions NDP government ministers in the B.C. legislature, Feb. 19, 2020. (Hansard TV)
Cabinet veteran Shirley Bond chosen interim leader of B.C. Liberals

28-member opposition prepares for December legislature session

Motorists wait to enter a Fraser Health COVID-19 testing facility, in Surrey, B.C., on Monday, November 9, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
COVID-19: What do rising positivity rates mean for B.C.? It’s not entirely clear

Coronavirus cases are on the rise but the province has not unveiled clear thresholds for further measures

A rider carves a path on Yanks Peak Saturday, Nov. 21. Two men from Prince George went missing on the mountain the next day. One of them, Colin Jalbert, made it back after digging out his sled from four feet under the snow. The other, Mike Harbak, is still missing. Local search and rescue teams went out looking Monday, Nov. 23. (Sam Fait Photo)
‘I could still be the one out there’: Snowmobiler rescued, 1 missing on northern B.C. mountain

As Quesnel search and rescue teams search for the remaining rider, Colin Jalbert is resting at home

Most Read