British Columbia

Protesters block rail crossing in East Vancouver in support of Wet'suwet'en for hours Sunday

A group of demonstrators who had set up a rail blockade at a major train crossing in East Vancouver Sunday have ended their protest, hours after it began.

Protest ends peacefully hours after it began

Protesters gathered in East Vancouver on Sunday, Feb, 23, to block a CN rail line in solidarity with Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs opposing the Coastal GasLink pipeline project. (Jon Hernandez/CBC)

A group of demonstrators who had set up a rail blockade at a major train crossing in East Vancouver Sunday have ended their protest, hours after it began.

Approximately 40 people gathered just before noon at the CN rail lines near Glen Dr. and Venables St., violating an injunction the rail company was granted earlier this month.

Protest organizer Natalie Knight said the blockade was in solidarity with Wet'suwet'en hereditary chiefs opposing the Coastal GasLink pipeline project, as well as the Mohawk barricading a rail line near Tyendinaga in Ontario.

"We will be here as long as we can," said Knight.

WATCH : Protesters block rail line in Vancouver 

Supporters of the Wet'suwet'en hereditary chiefs have blocked a major route in Vancouver. They're calling for the RCMP to leave First Nations unceded territory in B.C.  3:42

Vancouver Police said they were monitoring the protesters and had informed them they are in violation of the injunction.

"The protestors are off to the side of the tracks and at this time are not blocking the rail lines," said Sergeant Aaron Roed with the Vancouver Police Department.

Police told Knight there would be no arrests if protesters remained on the sidewalk. Despite what police said however, Knight said some protesters were on the rail tracks.

She said protesters would stand down once the demands of the Wet'suwet'en hereditary chiefs were met.

"We've gotten a lot of honks of support, a lot of fists in the air from drivers showing support for our action," she said.

CN said it is monitoring the protest closely.

"Trespassing on railway property and/or tampering with railway equipment is not only illegal, but also exceedingly dangerous," said Jonathan Abecassis, a media spokesperson with CN.

Hereditary chiefs from the Wet'suwet'en First Nation were expected to return to B.C. on Sunday after visiting Mohawk communities in Eastern Canada, with no signs that blockades crippling the country's rail network will come down.

Prime Minister Trudeau said Friday that while the government is ready to talk, blockades that began two weeks ago must come down and that the situation is "unacceptable and untenable.''

Hereditary chiefs have said they are ready for discussions with the B.C. and federal governments after the RCMP and Coastal GasLink leave their traditional territory.