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B.C. RCMP exclusion zone set at Coastal GasLink site, protesters report arrests

SMITHERS, B.C. — Opponents of a natural gas pipeline being built across northwestern British Columbia say RCMP have begun enforcing an injunction that prevents interference with construction.

Jen Wickham, a spokeswoman for one of the five clans that make up the Wet’suwet’en First Nation, says at least four people were arrested before dawn at a camp along a remote road near Houston, B.C.

Wickham says officers also began dismantling tents set up by protesters and clearing the road in the same area where 14 people were arrested during a similar enforcement last January.

A statement posted by BC RCMP Communication Services confirms Mounties have established an exclusion zone in the area.

The statement says officers intend to enforce the provincial Supreme Court injunction against interference with construction of the Coastal GasLink pipeline.

Enforcement comes less than two days after the provincial government and First Nation failed to reach an agreement during talks intended to de-escalate the dispute.

Hereditary chiefs of the Wet’suwet’en Nation oppose construction of the Coastal GasLink pipeline through their territories, although elected leaders of the First Nation have approved the work, which is a key part of the provincially approved, $40-billion LNG Canada project being developed in Kitimat, B.C.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 06, 2020

The Canadian Press

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