TORONTO (Pakistan Point News / Sputnik - 07th February, 2020) The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) has arrested six protesters blocking the Coastal GasLink pipeline in British Columbia in pre-dawn raids on Thursday, Unist'ot'en camp said in a statement.
"Six people have been arrested and several others, including members of the press, have been detained and removed from Wet'suwet'en territories in an aggressive pre-dawn raid by RCMP on behalf of Coastal GasLink (TC Energy)," the statement said on Thursday evening.
Gidimt'en clan spokesperson Molly Wickham said in a video posted to Twitter the protest camp's entry checkpoint was raided at 3:00 a.m. local time and the first arrests took place at approximately 5:00 a.m. The protesters allege the raid was conducted by heavily armed RCMP officers with automatic weapons and police dogs in tow and the press was prevented from reporting.
The Wet'suwet'en First Nation said they reject the ruling and the construction of the pipeline on their ancestral land, and cited international law and a Supreme Court of Canada decision that reaffirmed the Indigenous land claims and recognized hereditary chiefs.
During a press conference on Wednesday, British Colombia RCMP Assistant Commissioner Eric Stubbs said that protesters have been given options to avoid undue conflict.
Protesters who wish to be arrested peacefully would not be handcuffed, while those that wish to not move will be carried away by using "very little force," Stubbs said.
"If the above scenarios do not occur, our members will respond to the behaviors that are presented before them," Stubbs added.
The media outlet VICE said the RCMP has taken one of its reporters to a local police station. The outlet said the RCMP did not detain the reporter and released him in the parking lot of the police station.
According to activists, only a handful of reporters remain behind police lines.