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Rally held in Toronto in support of Wet'suwet'en hereditary chiefs


About 100 people gathered along Toronto's rail lines on Sunday in support of the Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs fighting against the construction of a pipeline through their territory following multiple arrests in northern B.C.

The demonstration began at Bartlett Avenue, near Dupont and Dufferin streets, around 11 a.m.

"The goal today here is to be in support of the Wet'suwet'en land defenders that were forced off their territory at gunpoint," Eve Saint, a Wet'suwet'en land defender in Toronto, told CP24 Sunday morning. "Up to 50 to 100 RCMP went in there, guns fully loaded, TAC teams … that is wrong."

On Friday, RCMP arrested 15 people—including two journalists—following protests that blocked access to a road used by Coastal GasLink pipeline workers.

On Sunday, a large group of people gathered near the Canadian Pacific rail lines, holding signs that said "no pipeline," "stop RCMP invasion of Indigenous land," and " Wet’suwet’en solidarity."

Toronto police and Toronto Fire were present at the event but no arrests were made.

A group of people took part in a rally in Toronto in support of Wet’suwet’en heritage chiefs. (Simon Sheehan/CP24)

Sunday's gathering was one of multiple held across Canada this weekend in support of Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs, who oppose the construction of a pipeline by Coastal Gaslink.

The national gas company has signed agreements with all 20 elected band councils to build the pipeline; however Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs have long argued that band councils only have authority over reserve land.

"We're talking about Indigenous sovereignty. We're talking about Indigenous title. Hereditary chiefs is an old governance system that predates Canada, that predates the first settlers that set foot on these territories," Saint said, adding that the chiefs were not properly informed or consulted about the project.

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) has been enforcing an injunction in the northern B.C. territories that prohibits protesters from blocking access roads used by pipeline workers.

Earlier this week, Coastal GasLink said their supplies were at risk of running out as a result of the blockades.

In both 2019 and 2020, RCMP officers enforced court injunctions issued to Coastal GasLink, resulting in multiple arrests and protests nationwide.

With files from the Canadian Press Top Stories

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