File Photo of RCMP liaisons at Gidimt'en checkpoint on Morice West Forest Service Road near Houston | , Photo: MyPGNow Staff
The Union of BC Indian Chiefs, BC Civil Liberties Association, British Columbia Government and Service Employees’ Union, and Professor Margot Young from the UBC Allard School of Law have provided its support of the Wet’suwet’en during its ongoing dispute with Coastal GasLink.
During a press conference on Wednesday(Jan15), speakers voiced concern about the access control checkpoint at the 27-kilometer mark on Morice West Forest Service Road that was set up Monday morning (Jan 13).
According to the BC Civil Liberties Association, it is filing legal complaints for Delee Alexis Nikal and Cody Thomas Merriman (Wedlidi) to the Civilian Review and Complaints from the RCMP.
According to Harsha Walia, Executive Director for the BCCLA, the pair were separately bringing food and emergency supplies but were denied entry and access to the checkpoint.
She also added the pair were each stopped for a minimum of 3 hours each in minus 30 to 40-degree weather.
Walia said the no access checkpoint is putting the Wet’suwet’en people at risk by controlling the territory’s access to food, medical supplies, and emergency equipment.
“We are especially concerned and gravely concerned about the RCMP’s unnecessary and criminalizing approach to the correct peaceful exercise of the Wet’suwet’en law and jurisdiction,” she said.
The RCMP said in a press release Wednesday (Jan 15) that miscommunication caused the two individuals to be denied access.
Police also said the procedures have been clarified and have not had any further reports of issues and most individuals have been able to proceed.
Walia said the response from the RCMP is not an appropriate one.
“If the person was allowed in there is no reason for alternative arrangements to be made Them attempting to suggest that they were finding a solution doesn’t get to the root of the issue, which is that the exclusion zone denies people access to their own territory,” she said.
RCMP is also reminding residents the checkpoint on Morice West Forest Service Road is not an exclusion zone.
Police also said in the release tires with the accelerants remain on the road.
“Twice now, police officers removed the containers of accelerants to prevent fires and both times they were replaced. The intent here is concerning and we are continuing our criminal investigation on this matter,” the release said.