Wet’suwet’en Land Defenders Condemn Violent Police Raid Against Pipeline Protest

Canadian police continue to arrest Indigenous land defenders blocking construction of Coastal GasLink, a 400-mile pipeline that would carry natural gas through Wet’suwet’en land. Two people were arrested Monday by police for blocking an access road. This comes less than two weeks after more than 30 people were arrested in a violent raid at Coyote Camp. The raid ended a 56-day blockade at a drilling site. We get an update from Wet’suwet’en land defender Molly Wickham, also known as Sleydo’, just released from jail. “This is the third time they have come in and raided Wet’suwet’en territory,” says Wickham. “We’ve never signed any documents to cede our land.”


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AMY GOODMAN: Members of the Haida Nation performing last week after they brought medicines, food and supplies to the Wet’suwet’en land defenders in British Columbia. This is Democracy Now! I’m Amy Goodman with Juan González as we end today’s show with an update on the land defenders in Canada who are facing a government crackdown. Two people arrested Monday after blockading an access road used by Coastal GasLink to build a 400-mile pipeline within Wet’suwet’en land that violates both Indigenous and Canadian laws. This comes after Canadian heavily militarized federal police arrested about 30 Wet’suwet’en members and supporters at camps and roadblocks in the same area last week including a violent raid that ended a 56-day blockade of the drilling site. Michael Toledano, a documentary filmmaker, was among those who were arrested during the raid on the Coyote Camp.

PERSON: They’re walking to the door. They’re breaking it down.

MICHAEL TOLEDANO:They are tearing down your door.

PERSON:Get out!

MICHAEL TOLEDANO: They’re breaking down the door.

POLICE:Show me your hands.

MOLLY WICKHAM:That’s it! [beep]Get your gun. Get your [beep]Get off my gun! Lower your gun!

POLICE: I want to see everybody’s hands.

MOLLY WICKHAM:Get your [beep]Get away from me! This is sovereign Wet’suwet’en land!

POLICE:Get out of the way.

PERSON:The RCMPThey have broken the door. They are acting in accordance with the injunction.

MOLLY WICKHAM:The attack dogs are always there.

PERSON:There are also attack dogs.

MOLLY WICKHAM:There, standing right next to the door.

PERSON:Militarized police. They used axes they had found in camp to smash down the door.


PERSON:They also found a chainsaw in camp to cut it. [inaudible].

POLICE: [inaudible] you’re under arrest.

MOLLY WICKHAM: Don’t touch me!

MICHAEL TOLEDANO: Don’t touch her.

MOLLY WICKHAM:Do not touch me.

PERSON:Get your hands on her!

PEOPLE [inaudible]

POLICE: You’re under arrest.

PERSON:Get your hands on her!

PEOPLE [inaudible]

POLICE: You’re under arrest.

PERSON: This is sovereign Wet’suwet’en territory!

MICHAEL TOLEDANO: I’m filming a documentary for CBC Television.

POLICE:No problem. You’re under arrest.

POLICE:Get that out my face and get back up. You’re under arrest.

PERSON: For the record, I’m a member of the media. You’ve been notified that I’m here. I’m [inaudible]

POLICE: You’re under arrest right now, so step out.

PERSON: I’m coming with you. I’m coming with you.

POLICE: [inaudible] you’re under arrest.

PEOPLE: [inaudible]

MICHAEL TOLEDANO: I’m a member of the media. I am filming a documentary. CBC Television!

PERSON:Lower the camera.

MICHAEL TOLEDANO:You are twisting me wrist! I’m a member of the media. I’m filming a documentary for CBC Television. I have press credentials.

AMY GOODMAN:Dramatic footage of the raid on Coyote Camp. Among those arrested and who we heard in this video was Molly Wickham, also known as Sleydo, a land defender and matriarch of the Gidimt’en Clan of Wet’suwet’en Nation, leader in this protracted battle to protect the land. Now she joins us again. Molly, we just released you from jail last Wednesday. The cabin where we spoke with you two Fridays ago was torched to the ground. Please explain what happened during this raid. We heard you saying, “Get your bleeping gun off me.”

MOLLY WICKHAM:The CIRGteam of police, the specialized unit of RCMPThey surrounded our camp with tactical units that were dropped in helis to deal with Indigenous land defenders and industry. They also had semiautomatic weapons and canine units. They broke down the doors without an arrest warrant or search warrant and entered the tiny house where we were staying. They used chainsaws and axes to hold us at gunpoint. They bulldozed all of the camp. CGLThe raid was attended by many.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ:Could you talk about the Royal Canadian Mounted Police’s branch? It is called the Community-Industry Response Group. What is this, a protection outfit.

MOLLY WICKHAM:Yes, they are a rogue group that police work for private sector. They are controlled by private industry. The government has claimed no oversight or direction towards this particular group of police that come in and do—this is the third time that they have violently raided Wet’suwet’en territory. They don’t have the same accountability as other police do and they take direction and were using CGLvehicles for the raid, and for the arrests. They were staying at the camps for men. CGL. They had created an exclusion area that they would only let to their customers. CGL through and blocking all Wet’suwet’en, even our house chiefs, from the territory, during the raids.

AMY GOODMAN:Molly, could you talk about why you are there again, this greater struggle that is occurring?

MOLLY WICKHAM: The Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs have never ceded or surrendered our territory and so they still have title to our land. We don’t have treaties. We have never signed any documents to cede our land and they said that there is no pipelines within our system to go through Wet’suwet’en territory. Wedzin Kwa, where our salmon spawn, is our sacred headwater. It’s the last clean drinking water source in our territory and Coastal GasLink is about to drill under our headwaters.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ:Who owns Coastal GasLink Do you have any information about their corporate connections

MOLLY WICKHAM: Yes. They are owned TC Energy. They are owned partly by TC Energy. AIMCo, an Alberta investment firm, holds our actual shares. CMPPolice retirement funds and by KKR, which is also a US-based private equity firm.

AMY GOODMAN:What are you requesting right now?

MOLLY WICKHAM: We are demanding that Coastal GasLink get off our territory and that the governments come to the table with the Wet’suwet’en and actually start implementing and respecting our title to the territories. This is a much larger issue that could easily have been resolved if the implementation of our title was recognized and our governance system was recognized. Instead, the government has chosen to follow the lead of a private corporation and invade our lands and waters. They are using militarized methods. RCMPUnarmed Indigenous women on our territories, and removing us all from the territory

One of the conditions for my release was that my access to my territory is restricted. Coastal GasLink wanted to ban me from my territory completely which is a violation of our Section 35 rights under the constitution and of course a violation of Wet’suwet’en law. They were able to ban my husband from our territory. He was prohibited from coming to our home and we are not allowed to hunt, fish, do anything on our territory or get firewood. They banned everybody else who was arrested from our territory, claiming terra nullius, essentially, that we don’t have a community out here, that we don’t have infrastructure, and that there’s no—

AMY GOODMAN:Molly, we must leave it there but will continue this struggle. Thank you so very much. I’m Amy Goodman with Juan González. Keep safe.