Indigenous youth speak to protesters outside of Serious Coffee Wednesday morning. Some spent upwards of 10 hours occupying the office of the Ministry of Energy, Mines & Petroleum Resources on Tuesday in protest of the provincial government’s plans to run the Coastal Gaslink through Wet’suwet’en territory. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)

Indigenous youth speak to protesters outside of Serious Coffee Wednesday morning. Some spent upwards of 10 hours occupying the office of the Ministry of Energy, Mines & Petroleum Resources on Tuesday in protest of the provincial government’s plans to run the Coastal Gaslink through Wet’suwet’en territory. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)

13 Wet’suwet’en supporters arrested by VicPD

Protesters rallied against Coastal GasLink pipeline

Victoria police arrested 13 people during a demonstration of support for Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs early Wednesday morning after a lengthy occupation of a provincial government building lobby. Indigenous youth activists blocked the entrance to the Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources on Blanshard Street on Tuesday for about 18 hours, starting at 11 a.m. The group was standing in solidarity with hereditary chiefs of Wet’suwet’en First Nation opposing Coastal GasLink, asking that the chiefs’ demands be upheld, observed and respected.

“We are unarmed, they have guns,” protesters yelled the next morning at a meeting outside the Blanshard Street Serious Coffee.

Protesters remained in and around the building through the night and told Victoria News on Wednesday morning that there were many arrests between 1 and 6 a.m. They said they were forcefully removed and had wanted only to peacefully occupy the space.

VicPD confirmed that 12 adults were taken into custody after 15 hours of negotiations. They said the arrests were lawful under the Trespass Act.

“Officers worked with both representatives of the protest group and the Province to find a peaceful resolution to the incident,” said VicPD spokesperson Cameron MacIntyre in a statement. “In the course of the evening, additional protesters arrived outside the building. Officers from Patrol, the Community Services Division, Investigative Services Division and the Integrated Crowd Management Unit attended.”

VicPD said plain clothes community liaison officers listened to and spoke with participants while officers “facilitated access to medicine, food, and water. Officers also assisted parents who arrived to pick up youth who were present at the protest.”

Protesters claimed they were initially denied food but that officers eventually relented.

VicPD said after 15 hours without arrests, the building owner requested to have protesters removed. Officers began arresting participants with the “minimum amount of force.”

Arrests took place over a four-hour period and protesters were escorted to waiting police vehicles. Protesters outside the building “made efforts to impede the lawful arrests,” police said, and surrounded officers who were “pushed and shoved while carrying arrestees to the police vehicles.”

VicPD said there were no injuries and no charges have been sworn.

Sutherland-Wilson said the protesters had decided to stay through the night when “their efforts were met with silence.”

“We wanted a concrete agreement from the ministry that they would demand Horgan to meet with hereditary chiefs,” he said, adding that the premier’s recent offer to send the Minister of Indigenous Relations was “disrespectful.”

“[Horgan is] not treating them like a sovereign Indigenous people who have never ceded their territory,” Sutherland-Wilson said.

“He’s treating them like an inconvenience and painting them in a narrative as dissidents [and] as protesters.”

Hereditary chiefs have taken a stance in conflict with members of the Wet’suwet’en Band Council, some of which support Coastal GasLink – the 670-kilometre pipeline set to run from northeastern B.C. to the LNG Canada’s export facility in Kitimat.

Coastal GasLink has signed agreements with the 20 elected First Nation councils along the pipeline’s proposed path.

READ ALSO: B.C. First Nation hereditary chiefs demand stop-work order against natural gas pipeline

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Indigenousprotest

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

 

Indigenous youth speak to protesters outside of Serious Coffee Wednesday morning. Some spent upwards of 10 hours occupying the office of the Ministry of Energy, Mines & Petroleum Resources on Tuesday in protest of the provincial government’s plans to run the Coastal Gaslink through Wet’suwet’en territory. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)

Indigenous youth speak to protesters outside of Serious Coffee Wednesday morning. Some spent upwards of 10 hours occupying the office of the Ministry of Energy, Mines & Petroleum Resources on Tuesday in protest of the provincial government’s plans to run the Coastal Gaslink through Wet’suwet’en territory. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)

Indigenous youth speak to protesters outside of Serious Coffee Wednesday morning. Some spent upwards of 10 hours occupying the office of the Ministry of Energy, Mines & Petroleum Resources on Tuesday in protest of the provincial government’s plans to run the Coastal Gaslink through Wet’suwet’en territory. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)

Indigenous youth speak to protesters outside of Serious Coffee Wednesday morning. Some spent upwards of 10 hours occupying the office of the Ministry of Energy, Mines & Petroleum Resources on Tuesday in protest of the provincial government’s plans to run the Coastal Gaslink through Wet’suwet’en territory. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)

Kolin Sutherland-Wilson speaks to protesters outside of Serious Coffee Wednesday morning. Some spent upwards of 10 hours occupying the office of the Ministry of Energy, Mines & Petroleum Resources on Tuesday in protest of the provincial government’s plans to run the Coastal Gaslink through Wet’suwet’en territory. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)

Kolin Sutherland-Wilson speaks to protesters outside of Serious Coffee Wednesday morning. Some spent upwards of 10 hours occupying the office of the Ministry of Energy, Mines & Petroleum Resources on Tuesday in protest of the provincial government’s plans to run the Coastal Gaslink through Wet’suwet’en territory. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)

Just Posted

Oak Bay Police are calling on a male described as elderly to come forward after having left the scene of a collision that injured a cyclist Saturday afternoon. (Black Press File Photo)
Police in Oak Bay seek elderly driver who left scene of collision with cyclist

Collision left cyclist with injuries to head and chest

Steve Smith’s image of two sibling adolescent grizzly bears playfighting in the Chilko River in the B.C. Interior earned him best of show at the prestigious Lion’s Gate Celebration of Nature club competition for 2020-21. (Photo by Steve Smith)
Victoria Camera Club captures top spot in prestigious nature and wildlife competition

Saanich Peninsula photographers part of award-winning team

Downtown Victoria and the Inner Harbour are part of a corridor that also includes much of urban Saanich that is part of the Greater Victoria 2030 District, a sustainable buildings climate initiative announced recently. (Black Press Media file photo)
Ramping up energy efficiency in Greater Victoria buildings goal of new group

Greater Victoria 2030 District part of North American network of cities working to reduce emissions

Oak Bay High Grade 10 students Oliver Wakely and Alex Joiner with the new scoreboard to soon be installed on the grass turf. Fundraising from the Oak Bay Barbarians rugby alumni and Oak Bay Fire Fighters Charitable Foundation. (Travis Paterson/News Staff)
Oak Bay High alumni buy new scoreboard

Scoreboard to be installed on grass field

Victoria Hospice staff Brianne Ohl, left, Angela Chalmers, right, and Sandi Ogloff, at back, show off their buttons that show a picture of them smiling. Staff has worked hard to maintain the connections with patients despite the barriers of PPE and rigid COVID-19 protocols. (Victoria Hospice Photo)
Hospice provides compassion in a time of COVID

Victoria Hospice 40th anniversary on pause during pandemic

Terrance Josephson of the Princeton Posse, at left, and Tyson Conroy of the Summerland Steam clash during a Junior B hockey game at the Summerland Arena in the early spring of 2020. (John Arendt - Summerland Review)
QUIZ: How much do you know about hockey?

Test your knowledge of Canada’s national winter sport

From the left: Midway RCMP Csts. Jonathan Stermscheg and Chris Hansen, Public Servant Leanne Mclaren and Cpl. Phil Peters. Pictured in the front are Mclaren’s dog, Lincoln and Peters’ dog, Angel. Photo courtesy of BC RCMP
B.C. Mounties commended for bringing firewood to elderly woman

Cpl. Phil Peters said he and detachment members acted after the woman’s husband went to hospital

Dr. Jerome Leis and Dr. Lynfa Stroud are pictured at Sunnybrook Hospital in Toronto on Thursday, January 21, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
‘It wasn’t called COVID at the time:’ One year since Canada’s first COVID-19 case

The 56-year-old man was admitted to Toronto’s Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre

An Uber driver’s vehicle is seen after the company launched service, in Vancouver, Friday, Jan. 24, 2020. Several taxi companies have lost a court bid to run Uber and Lyft off the road in British Columbia. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Taxi companies lose court bid to quash Uber, Lyft approvals in British Columbia

Uber said in a statement that the ruling of the justice is clear and speaks for itself

Nanaimo Regional General Hospital. (News Bulletin file photo)
COVID-19 outbreak declared at Nanaimo hospital

Two staff members and one patient have tested positive, all on the same floor

A long-term care worker receives the Pfizer vaccine at a clinic in Nanaimo earlier this month. (Island Health photo)
All Island seniors in long-term care will be vaccinated by the end of this weekend

Immunization of high-risk population will continue over the next two months

A 75-year-old aircraft has been languishing in a parking lot on the campus of the University of the Fraser Valley, but will soon be moved to the B.C. Aviation Museum. (Paul Henderson/ Chilliwack Progress)
Vintage military aircraft moving from Chilliwack to new home at B.C. Aviation Museum

The challenging move to Vancouver Island will be documented by Discovery Channel film crews

A video posted to social media by Chilliwack resident Rob Iezzi shows a teenager getting kicked in the face after being approached by three suspects on Friday, Jan. 22, 2021. (YouTube/Rob i)
VIDEO: Security cameras capture ‘just one more assault’ near B.C. high school

Third high-school related assault captured by Chilliwack resident’s cameras since beginning of 2021

FILE - In this Feb. 14, 2017, file photo, Oklahoma State Rep. Justin Humphrey prepares to speak at the State Capitol in Oklahoma City. A mythical, ape-like creature that has captured the imagination of adventurers for decades has now become the target of Rep. Justin Humphrey. Humphrey, a Republican House member has introduced a bill that would create a Bigfoot hunting season, He says issuing a state hunting license and tag could help boost tourism. (Steve Gooch/The Oklahoman via AP, File)
Oklahoma lawmaker proposes ‘Bigfoot’ hunting season

A Republican House member has introduced a bill that would create a Bigfoot hunting season

Most Read