Five people have been arrested after a group of Indigenous youth occupied an office in the B.C. Legislature on Wednesday night.
The demonstrators, members of the group Indigenous Youth for Wet’suwet’en, live-streamed the entire sit-in on Facebook, including police arriving and placing them in handcuffs.
Victoria police say five people were arrested for mischief just after 9 p.m. PT. They were taken to headquarters for processing and released on the condition they would not attend the legislature grounds. The mischief investigations remain underway.
“Everyone here at the legislature are the biggest fans of peaceful protest but we have to draw a line when it is no longer peaceful and there are criminal code violations,” said Alan Mullen, chief of staff to the Speaker of the House.
He spoke to reporters at about 1:30 a.m. PT, soon after the protesters were take off the grounds by police.
The sit-in began after a “wholly ineffective” meeting with B.C. Minister for Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation Scott Fraser, one of the young people said during the livestream.
The demonstrators said they met with Fraser to discuss the ongoing dispute over the Coastal GasLink pipeline in northern B.C., but they don’t believe their concerns were addressed.
Ministry spokesperson Sarah Plank told CBC in an email that Fraser agreed to meet with the young people on the condition they would leave the building once the meeting was over. She said the discussion was respectful and lasted for an hour and half, with Green MLA Adam Olsen acting as a witness.
“After the minister and MLA Olsen left, the individuals reneged on their agreement and made it clear that they would not leave the building as agreed. We are disappointed they have not honoured their commitment,” Plank said.
Wet’suwet’en prepare for clan meetings to discuss rights and title proposal
According to the group’s Twitter account, they are demanding RCMP and Coastal GasLink personnel completely withdraw from Wet’suwet’en territory in northern B.C., and that B.C. revoke permits for the pipeline.
A young man identified as Kolin jokes at one point about arrest: “You know it’s funny, young Indigenous people trespassing on unceded Indigenous land.”
Police said that when they showed up, the protesters had called for others to surround the the legislature building and that responding officers were obstructed and surrounded by over 100 protesters outside the building. It took several hours to to take the five people who were arrested to police headquarters.
5 protesters arrested after Indigenous youth sit-in at B.C. Legislature. Demonstration was streamed live on Facebook before police arrive with handcuffs. CBC News · Posted: Mar 04, 2020
VICTORIA — An intense scene played out on the lawns of the B.C. legislature late Wednesday night as police removed five Indigenous demonstrators from inside the government building.
Victoria Police confirm five Indigenous youth demonstrators were arrested for mischief after they refused to leave a planned meeting with Indigenous relations minister Scott Fraser.
The Indigenous youth, who have been occupying B.C.’s legislature for weeks, were invited in for a meeting with Fraser when they allegedly demanded he condemn the Costal GasLink pipeline project that crosses through the Wet’suwet’en First Nation territory in northern B.C.
“Our lives are more valuable than an economic bottom line which is why we are occupying this office currently,” said Indigenous youth leader Ta’kaiya Blaney on a live stream she posted to social media Wednesday night.
“We had a good conversation, but we know these meetings cannot set the tone for a history, and ongoing history, of colonization in this country.”
Indigenous youth arrested for refusing to leave B.C. legislature. Scott Cunningham, Journalist, CTV Vancouver Island, @CTVNewsScott, March 5, 2020
Roughly 20 young people are occupying the office of Northern Affairs Minister Dan Vandal in Winnipeg demanding that authorities leave Wet’suwet’en territory.
Vandal is Métis and the MP for the riding of Saint Boniface-Saint Vital in the city’s east end.
Kakeka Thundersky spoke for the group and why she felt it was important the organization got together.
“What’s happening out there is just a complete violation of rights of Indigenous people and it affects all of us, the land and the water they’re all connected, we’re all related. Here on Turtle Island and we really just need to protect it for the next generation. We believe it is all of our responsibility to take care of all of the children all the time.”
The group, Indigenous Youth for Wet’suwet’en Winnipeg, is demanding the immediate removal of the RCMP and the Coastal Gaslink (CGL) from Wet’suwet’en territory.
The CGL pipeline will carry fracked natural gas from Dawson Creek in northeastern British Columbia 670 km to Kitimat on the coast where it will be processed and shipped to markets in Asia.
Indigenous Youth for Wet’suwet’en occupy federal minister’s office in Winnipeg. National News, February 5, 2020 by Darrell Stranger
The scene inside Dan Vandal’s constituency office in Winnipeg. Photo: Darrell Stranger/APTN
Solidarity from occupied Osage lands (so-called Kansas City)!