Activist groups Porcupine Warriors and Rising Tide Toronto staged a Wet’suwet’en solidarity protest that stopped trains from leaving a rail yard on Saturday just north of Toronto in Vaughn, Ont.
Protestors used the subway to travel to Macmillan Yard where they crossed rail lines and lit fires from morning until about 5 p.m. when the demonstration ended.
Spokesperson Vanessa Gray had this to say about what led approximately 200 people to the action.
“This is a simple issue. Wet’suwet’en people have every right to be on their territory, they should not have been arrested and the future generations, the younger people, are declaring that reconciliation is dead and we’re here to shut down Canada.”
Gray also said that the purpose of the blockade was to shut down the west side of CN Rail tracks while a demonstration in Tyendinaga led CN to stop rail traffic in the east.
Activist groups Porcupine Warriors and Rising Tide Toronto stopping trains from leaving a rail yard in Vaughn, Ont. (Allana McDougall / APTN)
In a statement, CN Rail said they were monitoring the situation and evaluating their legal options very closely while train movements were stopped on Saturday.
Supporter Natali Euale Montilla said that the day’s protest specifically intended to block significant rail traffic.
“This is kind of the last straw that we’re at. We’re not trying to, I guess like, create any harm towards other humans but the reality is that revolution is going to be messy. You know, it’s not going to be, it’s not going to be comfortable,” Euale Montilla said.
“People who have really cozy jobs and cozy lives need to realize that they’re getting those luxuries and benefits from being on stolen lands and benefitting from genocide of Indigenous folks on these lands. Really, neither option is really good.”
Read more: ‘They need to check their privilege’: Scheer calls for police to end demonstrations
The federal government is closely monitoring protests that disrupt rail services. A statement from Transport Canada on February 12th said that while the right to peaceful protest is a fundamental right in Canada, individuals who choose to use this right must do so in accordance with the law.
“Police forces in our country act completely independently of all levels of government. First and foremost, their priority is to ensure the safety of all people in Canada,” the statement read.
“There is time for all parties to engage in open and respectful dialogue to ensure this situation is resolved peacefully, and we strongly urge these parties to do so.”
Vanessa Gray said actions will continue until the RCMP leaves Wet’suwet’en territories.
Explore all of our Wet’suwet’en conflict coverage here.