Protestors in eastern Ontario who are disrupting rail traffic in solidarity with Wet’suwet’en land defenders in northwestern British Columbia have established a second site within Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory.
Negotiations are ongoing between the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) and the people who have established their presence adjacent to Canadian National Railway Co.-owned rail lines just east of Belleville, an OPP spokesperson said.
“We do respect a court-ordered injunction, but at this point we are monitoring the situation, members of our provincial liaison team are trying to continue negotiations and continue talking,” said Bill Dickson, the OPP’s media relations co-ordinator for the east of the province. “We’re still in the negotiation stage, no action is planned beyond that.”
The action has caused major disruption to passenger and freight traffic on one of Canada’s busiest rail corridors since last Thursday.
The protesters have said they intend to maintain the solidarity action until the RCMP have left the unceded territory of the Wet’suwet’en First Nation, where hereditary chiefs stand in opposition to the construction of a natural gas pipeline.
The RCMP said Tuesday that a temporary exclusion zone in the area was removed and everyone was free to enter the area. The police force is maintaining an office on a forest service road at the centre of the dispute to continue patrols.
Dickson said OPP representatives visited the site roughly halfway between Toronto and Montreal several times on Tuesday and at least once on Wednesday.
“We want to make sure we keep the communication going, because the ultimate end here is we want to see a peaceful resolution and a safe resolution for everyone,” he said.
Protestors blocking rail traffic in Ontario have established a second site as they stand in solidarity with Wet’suwet’en hereditary leaders and others opposing the Coastal GasLink pipeline project in northwestern British Columbia.
He provided no timeline for how long talks would continue.
The first site, adjacent to the railway tracks on Wyman’s Road, is in Tyendinaga Township, just outside of the nation’s jurisdictional territory, Dickson said. The second site, established a little farther east, on Depot Road, either late last night or early this morning, is within its borders, he said.
That means it would be up to the nation’s Tyendinaga Police Service to decide whether to take any action, he said.
Tyendinaga Mohawk Police Chief Jason Brant issued a personal plea to demonstrators to end the demonstration.
“I’m never in favour of First Nations people being forced to do anything, whether it’s historically or ordered by white court or police, I’m not in favour of it,” he told the protesters in a video posted by CBC reporter Jorge Barrera on Twitter earlier on Wednesday.
But Brant said the point had been made. “Today is the day to go home and leave the area in peace, return to your physical homes,” he said.
He was not available to comment on Wednesday.
Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte Chief R. Donald Maracle said the elected council played no role in prompting the demonstrations but expressed solidarity with the Wet’suwet’en and called out actions by the RCMP.
“We are both saddened and frustrated…that military-style interventions are still deemed acceptable approaches when it comes to complex First Nations matters,” he said in a statement on behalf of the elected council.
Canadian National Railway Co. warned Tuesday that it would have to close “significant” parts of its network unless blockades on its rail lines were removed.
More than 150 freight trains have been idled since the blockades were set up last Thursday in British Columbia and Ontario.
more at: https://www.nationalobserver.com/2020/02/12/news/second-blockade-set-mohawk-territory-anti-pipeline-blockades-slow-rail-traffic