'This is not what reconciliation looks like': Anti-pipeline protesters rally in St. John's
'The environment matters to everyone, Indigenous rights matter to everyone'
"People over pipelines" were the words being chanted in St. John's on Sunday afternoon, as human rights and environmental activists showed their support for Wet'suwet'en members protesting the Coastal GasLink pipeline in northern British Columbia.
RCMP arrested 14 of the Indigenous protestors on Monday.
About 100 people gathered at Bannerman Park with colourful signs to hear from local advocates. There was also a red dress hung in memory of Chantel John, a young indigenous woman who was recently killed in Conne River.
Sobia Shaikh, one of the speakers at the rally criticized the way in which the RCMP handled the protest in Houston, B.C. calling the situation "unjust."
"Reconciliation will not happen if we continue to make these sort of militaristic and political decisions that don't serve people and our lands," Shaikh said.
"This is not what reconciliation looks like," said demonstrator Robert Leamon, a member of the Qalipu Mi'kmaq, who was at a sign-making event ahead of the rally at St. Michael's Printshop on Saturday."The environment matters to everyone, Indigenous rights matter to everyone. We are all living on this land and we have to respect that."
A saying I’ve heard multiple times, “this is not what reconciliation looks like.” <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/cbcnl?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#cbcnl</a> <a href="https://t.co/PUL08QNcIp">pic.twitter.com/PUL08QNcIp</a>—@megdroberts
"Given what we have gone through in recent months and recent years in Newfoundland and Labrador ... I think that it's a sentiment of, 'We are back here again? We are at this again?'" said Meghan Hollett, who was also on hand to make signs.
"I think it's really important for us to show that we are on the total other coast but there are things that really connect us," she said.
The rally at Bannerman Park, organized by the Anti-Racism Coalition of Newfoundland and Labrador, was just one of several that took place across the province on the weekend. There was also a demonstration in Corner Brook on Sunday.
On Saturday, about 20 people gathered outside the office of Labrador's Liberal MP Yvonne Jones to show their solidarity with the Wet'suwet'en Fist Nation.
"It means a lot for us to offer this solidarity," said organizer Amy Norman. "Over the years, there's been lots of solidarity rallies across the country against Muskrat Falls and in support of our movement, so to be able to give that back is a powerful message to send."