Highway 6 bypass in Caledonia reopens after barricades removed

Haldimand County OPP issued a media release around 9:20 a.m. ET saying the "solidarity blockade" was being cleared and the Ontario Ministry of Transportation had inspected the road.

'Land back' messages painted under Ontario overpasses will remain, says Skyler Williams

Messages calling for land back and declaring solidarity with the Wet'suwet'en people have been painted under overpasses along the Highway 6 bypass in Caledonia, Ont. (Supplied by Skyler Williams/Twitter)

Barricades that have blocked the Highway 6 bypass in Caledonia, Ont., for the past five days have been removed and the road has reopened.

Indigenous "land defenders" shut down the bypass on Oct. 28 in solidarity with Wet'suwet'en hereditary chiefs who are against a pipeline through their territory in northern B.C.

"It was a community decision to make the stand that we did and also a community direction to bring the barricades down," said 1492 Land Back Lane spokesperson Skyler Williams on Monday.

In a post on Twitter, Williams said the demonstrators had removed their blockades.

"We will keep showing up for our brothers and sisters across Turtle Island," he added. "The days of pushing us off our lands, poisoning waters and destroying ecosystems are over."

Haldimand County provincial police issued a media release around 9:20 a.m. ET saying the "solidarity blockade" was being cleared.

"OPP will work with the Ministry of Transportation to reopen the area to traffic following a complete inspection of the road and bridges along the Highway 6 bypass," it read. "This work will take place today."

In a followup tweet posted at 10:49 a.m., OPP said the bypass had reopened.

'Peaceful road toward reconciliation'

Williams said shutting down the section of highway was part of an effort to find a pathway forward that "sees all sides heard" when it comes to Indigenous land rights.

"Our people have been dispossessed of our lands for a couple hundred years now," said Williams, adding that's true in B.C., Ontario and across the country.

"We're doing everything we can to create a peaceful road toward reconciliation."

The barricades may be gone from the bypass, but messages and art painted under overpasses along the highway will remain, according to Williams.

Images shared on social media show the words "Land Back," "Solidarity with Wet'suwet'en" and "Stolen Land" spray painted underneath a bridge.

"To be able to spread that message is exactly what we're going to keep on doing," said Williams.

"I really hope that these governments start to understand that ... to continue that 400 year old song and dance of taking from Indigenous communities is no longer something that's going to be tolerated."

Williams said he and other members of Six Nations will continue to stand behind the Wet'suwet'en hereditary chiefs and against the Coastal GasLink pipeline project.