‘Yesterday, we took our land back. With our Haudenosaunee allies, we enforced our ancient trespass laws and have permanently closed access to our territory. The Morice Forest Service Road has been destroyed and access to Coastal Gaslink is no longer possible.’
The Union of BC Indian Chiefs issued a statement Thursday November 18 objecting to the use of provincial resources to quell pipeline protests rather than addressing the province’s state of emergency in the south.
“We are absolutely outraged that the Province of B.C. authorized a military-style raid on peaceful land defenders in order to allow Coastal GasLink to build their Liquified Natural Gas pipeline, while much of the province is suffering from life-threatening, catastrophic flooding related events,” UBCIC Grand Chief Stewart Phillip said.
“Prioritizing fossil fuel expansion while British Columbians grapple with a climate emergency is an alarming, criminal and incredibly poor decision by Premier Horgan and Mike Farnworth, Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General.”
On November 18,the RCMP have taken up where they left off..
The RCMP flew in an unknown number of officers to nearby Smithers on a charter Wednesday.
The RCMP moved onto the road accompanied by heavy machinery to take back the road, clear camps and an occupied drill pad site.
So far, fourteen people are in custody awaiting a bail hearing as aresult of 50 police officers arrived at the Morice West Forest Service Road south of Houston, B.C., to clear the resource road after Wet’suwet’en members opposing the 670-kilometre Coastal GasLink pipeline blocked access to two work camps.
Previous RCMP actions
- The 2019 and 2020 police actions and ongoing operations to March 2021 have cost the B.C. government about $20 million, according to records.
- The RCMP spent about $13 million in 2019 and 2020, according to records obtained by CBC News under the Access to Information Act.
- The Mounties have since spent an additional $5.8 million up to March 2021, according to records first obtained by the Tyee online news organization.
- RCMP body cam video, helicopter footage and notes from the 2019 first raid obtained by CBC News reveal the scope, scale and intensity of operations against fortified Wet’suwet’en positions along the forestry road.
- In 2019, the RCMP deployed about 51 members, including an emergency response team (ERT) unit, 20 vehicles, a helicopter and drone, according to police notes.
- The use of “lethal overwatch” during the operation is mentioned twice in notes and reports obtained by CBC News.
- The RCMP has said the use of lethal overwatch, or “sniper observers,” which are part of the ERT units, are used as lookouts, “while other police officers are engaged in other duties which occupy attention.” The RCMP has said it does not imply plans to use snipers to shoot anyone.
- The notes also show the RCMP has dogs and pepper spray in its arsenal for potential use, both of which were considered during the 2019 raid.