Prosecutors charge 15 Land Defenders with criminal contempt

Please pray for justice for water protectors and supporters who are facing charges. Pray for the safety of those currently living at Gidimt’en Checkpoint, who endure frequent police harassment.
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CIRG officers inspect a blockade of logs and a bus.
CIRG police officers inspect the blockade at Gidimt'en checkpoint in October 2021

On 1 June, the British Columbia Prosecution Service announced their decision to charge 15 people with criminal contempt of court for disobeying an injunction protecting construction of the Coastal GasLink pipeline. These 15 people who were arrested in November at the Gidimt’en Checkpoint village site, include Wet’suwet’en elders and legal observers. Prosecutors are still deciding whether to pursue the same charge against 10 people arrested at the Coyote Camp pipeline resistance site, including spokesperson Sleydo’.

Injunctions are a legal tool frequently used by corporations against Indigenous land defenders. CBC News cites a study by the Yellowhead Institute which found that “76 percent of injunctions filed against First Nations were granted, while 81 percent filed by First Nations against corporations were denied.”

The Canadian government continues to refuse to negotiate with Wet’suwet’en Hereditary Chiefs, who hold title to the land according to Wet’suwet’en law. The Hereditary Chiefs have categorically stated that they do not consent to pipelines crossing their territory. They have demanded an apology from the Canadian government for the use of state violence against land defenders who are upholding Wet’suwet’en sovereignty.

Please pray for justice for water protectors and supporters who are facing charges. Pray for the safety of those currently living at Gidimt’en Checkpoint, who endure frequent police harassment. Pray for healing for all Land Defenders who have experienced police harassment and violence, and for the Wet’suwet’en and Gitxsan communities most affected by this conflict.

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