Supporters of Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs who have been camped out near the CN rail tracks outside Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory were encouraged to “fall back” in the face of advancing officers with the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) who arrived Monday morning to clear out the camp that has been in place since Feb. 6.
There were six arrests according to a live video posted by Real Peoples Media which live streamed the enforcement.
On the video, fewer than a dozen protesters can be seen facing down the police.
“You’re on sovereign territory, every single one of you,” an unidentified man yells at the police on the video. “Unceded. Every single one of you. I want you all to understand, you came here. Your ancestors came here sick, tired, and oppressed. Your ancestors came here wanting a better place, and our ancestors took care of them, taught them how to live, let them live on their land.
“What did your ancestors do when they got sick and 90 per cent of them died? They violated their treaties. They stole. They killed. But they did it when we were sick. F**k off. I’ll stand where I want. I’m on Onkwehón:we territory. Yeah, me.”
A police officer can be seen on the video smirking at this – the man is then swarmed by officers and arrested.
After this round of arrests, another voice can be heard on the video saying “there’s no one else coming.”
The protest near Belleville, Ont., has crippled both freight and passenger rail traffic in most of eastern Canada for nearly three weeks.
On Sunday, liason officers with the OPP gave the camp until midnight to clear the area from the fence along the tracks on each side.
Hereditary chiefs of the Wet’suwet’en Nation met with leaders of the protest camp last week. They vowed to keep the camp in place until the RCMP left Wet’suwet’en territory.
On Friday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said the barricades had to come down and injunctions ordering the tracks cleared needed to be enforced.
(Trudeau speaking to media on Friday in Ottawa where he said it was time the barricades came down. Photo: Brett Forester/APTN)
Trudeau spoke by phone Sunday with Ontario Premier Doug Ford, Quebec Premier Francois Legault, and B.C.’s John Horgan “to discuss the railway blockades and the impacts they are having across the country on Canadians and the economy.”
According to a statement from the PMO, Trudeau informed the premiers of measures being taken to ensure that critical needs are addressed, including propane, chemicals to treat drinking water, and essential agricultural products.
“We will remain in close contact with all provinces to address urgent needs as required, and we will continue to support co-ordinated efforts to find a resolution,” the statement said.
Trudeau and the premiers also reiterated their commitment to resolving the situation peacefully.
Wet’suwet’en Heredity Chief Na’moks, also known as John Ridsdale, said Sunday that Trudeau’s “antagonistic” speech had just the opposite effect.
“If the prime minister had not made that speech the Mohawks would have taken down everything,” he said. “They were ready. We were on the phone.”
(The snow plow that has been sitting next to the CN rail tracks since Feb. 6. APTN)
Na’moks said all five hereditary chiefs were expected to meet in northern B.C. Monday to plan their next steps and talks with the RCMP could resume on Thursday at the earliest.
He said the chiefs will not budge from their demands for the Mounties to remove every component of a mobile unit from their territory before meeting with them.
Dawn Roberts, a spokeswoman for the RCMP, said the mobile unit had been temporarily closed and discussions were underway with the deputy commissioner about its future.
The chiefs visited supporters this week in Tyendinaga, which is two hours east of Toronto and Kahnawake south of Montreal, and repeated that their conditions for talks to begin had not been met.
With files from the Canadian Press