Gidimt’en Checkpoint Launches Civil Suit Against BC Government, Coastal GasLink and Their Agents

Gidimt’en Checkpoint Launches Civil Suit Against BC Government, Coastal GasLink and Their Agents

On July 13, the Gidimt’en Checkpoint, a checkpoint by the Gidimt’en clan of the Wet’suwet’en nation controlling access to Wedzin Kwa, the sacred river of the Wet’suwet’en nation, launched a civil suit against the RCMP, the Community-Industry Response Group (C-IRG), the BC Minister of Justice, Coastal GasLink Pipeline and private security contractor Forsythe for hundreds of instances of trespass, harassment, and intimidation tactics that have taken place, in particular since early 2022.

The Department of Justice is asking for more time to respond, but while they stall, the RCMP escalated their violence against unarmed land defenders.

On August 12 around 4:00 pm, land defenders were followed and harassed by police while en route to their private residence on Gidimt’en yintah. The police proceeded to use excessive force by arresting two land defenders and pepper spraying each arrestee and one other. One of the victims of this violent assault had already had their hands cuffed behind their back before being pepper sprayed.

This police escalation happened outside the residence of one young Indigenous land defender, and far from any Coastal GasLink worksite. This is a blatant example of the targeted harassment that the RCMP and the C-IRG have inflicted on the Wet’suwet’en and their supporters.

“Pepper spray has been misused by C-IRG against crowds of land defenders at places like Fairy Creek; there is no reason why it is needed against three unarmed people driving to a private residence. This is a big escalation in police intimidation tactics against Wet’suwet’en land and water protectors,” says Gidimt’en checkpoint spokesperson Sleydo’.

These police attacks took place as the Wet’suwet’en people were preparing for a large cultural gathering with elders and children on the territory in late August, and was clearly meant to intimidate Indigenous people from conducting their ceremonies on their unceded lands.

“We remain part of the Wedzin Kwa, the sacred river, that we are protecting from colonial invaders. This won’t deter us from doing what is right, upholding our own laws that have been in place for thousands of years, protecting our land and standing up for future generations,” Sleydo’ affirmed.

(Photos: Gidimt’en Checkpoint)