Protest blocks busy Kamloops intersection

Protesters gathered in solidarity with those protesting and blockading the Coastal Gaslink pipeline in traditional Wet'suwet'en territory in northwestern B.C.

Warning: The video below contains profane language.

A group of protesters briefly blocked the busy Summit Drive and McGill Road intersection at about 12:30 p.m. on Friday.

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The intersection was blocked three times by about 25 protesters for approximately five minutes at a time.

When protesters lined up along the crosswalk to block Summit Drive, drivers could be heard honking and one man was screaming profanities from his window.

At one point, a dark-coloured Dodge truck crossed the intersection from the north side and drove close up to protesters, nearly touching them, before backing away and turning down McGill Road. A man could also be seen hanging out the front passenger window, yelling.

A Kamloops RCMP cruiser arrived after protesters blocked the intersection for a third time and they eventually cleared out to the edges of the intersection before crossing back to Thompson Rivers University, where the protest originated.

At issue is the 670-kilometre Coastal GasLink pipeline that will deliver natural gas from the Dawson Creek area to the LNG Canada facility near Kitimat in northwest B.C.

This project has the support of all 20 First Nations along the route, the elected councils of which have signed benefit agreements with Coastal GasLink, but is opposed by some Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs.

Leslie Carty was among the protesters standing in solidarity with those arrested at the Wet’suwet’en Nation blockade against the Coastal Gaslink pipeline.

He said he was there to support his First Nations brothers and sisters.

“I think it’s wrong that our brothers and sisters get woken up at 5 a.m. and pulled out of their bed on their land and are told they have to leave so our government can put a pipeline through,” he said.

Leslie Carty
Leslie Carty was among those out protesting on Friday. - Dave Eagles/KTW

Carty said he’s a man of colour, but also Métis and a fifth-generation Canadian, and his own poor experience with police is part of the reason he was out with protesters on Friday.

“To hold up traffic for a few minutes, it’s a very little inconvenience for everyone that is honking,” he said.

Some drivers blocked at the intersection blared their horns as First Nations members sang and beat their drums.

Carty said there is a lot of support here in Kamloops for the Wet’suwet’en and said there would have been more if it weren’t for the weather.

“It’s a big First Nations community here. There are deep roots here. We should feel blessed every day that we’re allowed to walk on this land unimpeded. But some people who should be able to do that, can’t do that? You know what I mean?” he said.

Vernie Clement was among those beating a drum and singing. He said the interruption was a necessary one.

"It’s not until people stand up and make their voices heard that things start to change," Clement told KTW following the protest.

"If it was going to be done quietly, it would have been done already."

© Kamloops This Week



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