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Blockade in Brantford shuts down main roads to support Wet'suwet'en pipeline protest

In a show of solidarity with members of a First Nations community in British Columbia that is protesting a court injunction allowing a pipeline company access to their land, people in Brantford have blocked off two main roads in the community.

About 50 people are taking part in the blockade

People in Brantford have blocked off two main roads in the community, Highway 18 and Cockshutt Rd., to show their solidarity with Wet'suwet'en. (Kate Bueckert/CBC)

In a show of solidarity with members of a First Nations community in British Columbia that is protesting a court injunction allowing a pipeline company access to their land, people in Brantford have blocked off two main roads in the community.

Highway 18 and Cockshutt Rd., two main roads in Brantford, have been blocked off by about 50 supporters.

It's one of many protests across Canada in support of the members of the Wet'suwet'en First Nation.

A rolling blockade from the Mowhawk nation at Akwesasne, west of Cornwall, on Highway 401 started early this morning driving 50 km/hr in both lanes heading west towards Belleville.

Another one started in London this morning as well, with a dozen vehicles from the Oneida territory slowing down Highway 402 and 401 traffic driving at 60 km/hr in two lanes.

14 people were arrested at the site in B.C. where they had set up a camp to prevent the pipeline company from gaining access to the road.

Sonny Maracle is part of the blockade in Brantford on Highway 18 and Cockshutt Rd. to show solidarity with Wet'suwet'en in B.C. (Kate Bueckert/CBC)

On Thursday, an agreement was met with the Hereditary chiefs and the RCMP, allowing the company to do pre-construction work specified in the interim injunction order.

Sonny Maracle, part of the Brantford blockade, says he's there to "support our brothers and sisters in the west."

"This week we have seen out Wet'suwet'en brothers and sister to the West invaded and thrown into jail for asserting their inherent sovereign right to occupy their unceeded traditional lands," Maracle said in a press release from Six Nations of the Grand River Territory.

"As within our own community of Six Nations of the Grand River Territory, we have seen our own elected council step outside of their jurisdiction in making land agreements with Hydro One on the Niagara Reinforcement line, and with the City of Brantford."

We gotta stand up for ourselves, and we're gonna stand on these roads and we're going to work together as nations.- Chief Myeengun, Chief of Chippewas of Thames First Nation

Chippewas of the Thames Chief Myeengun Henry was on hand to show his support, saying he is "tired" of the government of Canada "telling us what we've agreed upon is trash.

"We gotta stand up for ourselves, and we're gonna stand on these roads and we're going to work together as nations and to tell people you can't come on our traditional territory and arrest our people." said Henry.

"I want regular Canadians here to understand the true history of this country. The treaties that we signed together were formed on partnership, relationship, and being responsible toward each other. Canadians have not learned that in school."

Henry was also critical of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

"His actions aren't exactly what he's doing. It's going backwards, he's not even making a statement on this. How can the government of this country see actions across this whole Canada, and sit back and not say a word about it? That's wrong," said Henry.

Maracle says they have plans for the blockade to be up until 6 p.m., and if police aren't letting their people join them the blockade will stay up longer.

Ken Johnston, media relations for Brant County OPP, says they have positioned roadblocks around the blockades so people can still go where they need to.

He said the provincial liaison team was talking with the organizers of the event trying to negotiate when things will end.

About the Author

Jasmine Kabatay

Jasmine Kabatay is an Anishinaabe freelance journalist from Seine River First Nation in northwestern Ontario. She is based in Toronto and has written for the Toronto Star, VICE News, and was a national columnist for Metro News (now StarMetro.)