The latest on Victoria protests supporting Wet'suwet'en chiefs opposed to pipeline

Demonstrators in Victoria picketed provincial government offices in the city this morning as a show of solidarity with opponents of the Coastal GasLink pipeline project being built across traditional territories of the Wet’suwet’en First Nation in northwestern British Columbia.

Here is the latest news on the protests. Newest items on top:

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Just before noon, groups at most downtown government buildings left their posts to head over to Centennial Square for a gathering. Some groups are also gathering in James Bay and Jutland Road, says a demonstrator.

Protesters carrying a No Consent No Pipeline banner are on the move from 525 Superior St. through legislature grounds to Centennial Square.

Two large groups gather near the corner of Douglas Street and Pandora Avenue. The area is filled with the sounds of chanting and cars honking.

Wet'suwet'en supporter Saul Brown tells the crowd at Pandora and Douglas “this is a moment in history.” He says they just got a call from the Royal B.C. Museum asking for signs from the demonstrations so they can preserve them for posterity.

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At 11:30 a.m., BCGEU president Stephanie Smith said members were advised not to cross so-called picket lines in front of government ministries today.

“A line is a line in terms of the labour movement here in B.C.,” said Smith. “In the absence of a ruling from the Labour Relations Board on its legality or an injunction we advise members not to cross a line.”

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Around 10:50 a.m., two large groups are gathered at entrances to the B.C. Investment Management Corporation at Pandora Avenue and Douglas Street.

One group is across from Victoria City Hall, but demonstrators say they’re not targeting the city.

Royal B.C. Museum Archives Head David Alexander hands out his card and asks Wet'suwet'en demonstrators to donate their signs to the museum.

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At 10 a.m., about 30 people are in front of the law courts on Blanshard Street. Some are holding an upside down Canadian flag with “Reconciliation is dead” painted on it. The same image was displayed at the legislature for days while Indigenous youth occupied the front steps of the building.

The group from the courts is on the move to the Ministry of Justice, being led by Emma deWit from Wet'suwet'en First Nation. She’s leading a song called Wildflower, “a song to call the children home.” The group is sticking to sidewalks. No traffic disrupted.

The group has now reassembled outside the Ministry of Justice. A demonstrator says it’s the same idea as before: a peaceful picket line. A chant calls for Premier Horgan and Prime Minister Trudeau to stand down.

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At 9:15 a.m., a few dozen people are gathered outside entrances to the B.C. Public Service Agency and Ministry of Management Services at 810 Blanshard St. holding a large sign that says “Respect Indigenous law ” and chanting “together, united, we’ll never be defeated.” A couple of cars driving by honk in support.

Meanwhile, more than 20 people are gathered at the Ministry of Children and Family Services, offering information as well as cookies and doughnuts. 

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At 9 a.m., David Merner from the Green Party of Canada is outside the Ministry of the Attorney General, where he used to work as a lawyer.

He’s here in solidarity with Wet'suwet'en hereditary chiefs. He says he’s been getting hugs and thumbs up from people he knows going inside the building.

A police liaison at the Ministry of Attorney General says they’ve seen multiple police vehicles circle the block and pass by other locations, but officers have not gotten out of their cars.

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By 8:40 a.m., dozens of people are stationed outside entrances to government buildings on Broughton Street, singing “we shall not be moved” and passing around Timbits.

There's also a large showing of demonstrators at St. Ann’s Academy, 835 Humboldt St. Peaceful demonstrators are standing, singing, sharing information and asking government workers to join them and not to cross the picket lines.

About 130 protesters have gathered at the corner of Pandora Avenue and Douglas Street, chanting and cheering. No government workers in sight.

There are about two dozen protesters outside the Oil and Gas Commission on Jutland Road.

A group of Indigenous youth have arrived at the Transportation Ministry, singing and drumming.

“We don’t need your rule of law. RCMP off the yintah (land)."

"We’re letting them know that reconciliation is dead and they have to answer to us.”

They’re off now to the next location.

At the Transportation Ministry, demonstrators are handing out an info sheet about why they’re here. The sheet says the group is “deeply disappointed” in the current NDP leadership and explains the RCMP raid in Wet’suwet’en territory. “Reconciliation will never happen at gunpoint,” it says

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Around 8:30 a.m., about 50 demonstrators singing "give the land back" are picketing the Environment Ministry at 525 Superior St., hoping BCGEU employees will show support and not cross the picket lines. Still no sign of any government workers.

About 40 people are already set up outside the Ministry of Transportation at 940 Blanshard St. A large group of protesters is lined up outside the Finance Ministry, at 620 Superior St., holding a sign that says: “Support Wetsuweten sovereignty." Vehicles passing by are honking in support.

Dozens of protesters are outside the government offices at 2950-2975 Jutland Rd, with no sign of staff trying to go to work. A parking lot at the offices, normally full on a weekday, is empty.

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By 7:50 a.m. protesters are stationed at Health Ministry entrances, with no staff in sight so far. Many passing cars are honking in support.

A protester calling herself T’pol is calling for a general strike to support hereditary chiefs.

A smaller group at Queen’s printer, 535 Superior St., stand in front of building saying hello to passers by. Vehicles are honking in support.

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At the Ministry of Health, protesters are gathering outside the building before 7:30 a.m. Staff has been told to use an alternate entrance on Blanshard Street.

At the same time, protesters in front of the Government Communications and Public Engagement office at 617 Government St. are chanting: “What do you do when Indigenous rights are under attack? Stand up; fight back!”

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Late Thursday a B.C. Supreme Court judge granted an injunction against further blockades at the legislature.

The Office of the Speaker applied for the order after the protest, which saw demonstrators lock arms and yell at MLAs, staff and others trying to get into the legislature, and disrupting ceremonial activities for the government’s throne speech. Several hundred demonstrators turned out to show support for Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs opposed to a planned liquefied natural gas pipeline in northern B.C.

Today's protests don't appear to target the legislature, and the injuction covers only the legislative precinct. The legislature remains closed to the public and Family Day activities planned for Monday have been cancelled. Full story here.

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Police are warning of possible disruptions to traffic, but there has been no indication that the demonstrators are going to block intersections or bridges.

Victoria police spokesman Bowen Osoko said officers will be deployed in anticipation of the protesters’ movements, noting that in the past, planned blockades of specific buildings or locations have moved to intersections, businesses and bridges.

At the Ministry of Health, protesters began gathering outside the building before 7:30 a.m. Staff has been told to use an alternate entrance on Blanchard Street. ---

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