WINNIPEG – The Manitoba government is going to seek a court injunction to end a rail-line blockade west of Winnipeg.
The blockade is one of many protests across the country over a Coastal GasLink natural gas pipeline in northern British Columbia that would cross the traditional territory of the Wet’suwet’en First Nation.
Protesters uploaded video on social media showing the Winnipeg blockade stopping trains in both directions on a main east-west Canadian National line.
Premier Brian Pallister says the province’s Justice Department will seek to obtain an injunction and have it enforced within a few days.
He says he respects the rights of protesters, but laws need to be applied.
Blockades in other provinces have cancelled more than 150 Via Rail passenger trains and forced a similar number of freight trains to sit idle.
“The point is to make sure that we’re standing up for the freedoms and rights of all people, and not standing back while two-tier justice happens in our province,” Pallister told The Canadian Press on Wednesday.
“As much as we will always respect the right of protesters to have a voice, they don’t have a veto and … they don’t have the right to put their rights ahead of everyone else and to disregard the laws of our province and country.”
Protesters said in a statement they are standing up for Indigneous rights.
“This is in support of Wet’suwet’en land defenders and hereditary chiefs who didn’t give consent,” the statement read.
“What’s happening can help our people and those who have conflict with industry in the future. Industry and police will have to think twice about how they handle projects and invading our territories.
“We hold all the cards and we aren’t going anywhere.”
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 12, 2020