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Oct 19, 21

Port of Vancouver Blockaded in Solidarity with Wet’suwet’en

Report back on solidarity actions in so-called Vancouver in solidarity with the Wet’suwet’en struggle against Coastal Gaslink and RCMP occupation.

Two actions took place this week on occupied Coast Salish territory (Vancouver, BC) in support of Wet’suwet’en resistance to Coastal Gaslink and RCMP invasion and occupation of their territory and in response to #AllOutForWedzinKwa call for actions.

On Oct 14th, people rallied outside the art gallery for a few hours, created art and banners, distributed zines and leaflets, and eventually made their way to the Coastal Gaslink office downtown to block entry. On Oct 15th, an unannounced port blockade took the Clark/Hastings entrance to the Port of Vancouver. At the same time as the group took the entrance, a small black bloc marched down Commercial Drive and met up with the port blockade. The intention for this bloc was to act as an autonomous group who could make decisions on the fly together, rather than fall into any mass of people and become “arrestables” or “bodies” to be directed around by other organizers, while also supporting the larger group who took Clark/Hastings.

The entrance was held for over five hours, causing trucks to re-route to a far away entrance, hopefully delaying the flow of “goods” in and out of the port, as well as delaying workers whose job it is to carry out these transactions. The space felt like a mini-autonomous zone, albeit a brief one, and made space for people to find joy in resistance and for friends to connect and strengthen skills, trust, and bonds.

For all the cars honking in support, there were just as many commuters angrily yelling at everyone at the intersection that day. Cars rolled through the crowd, slowly hitting people until they were forced out of the way. It took police over an hour to contain the intersection and block off traffic, reroute the flow of capital to a few different streets, isolate the blockade from the public, and create a soft kettle around the entire area.

The entire Clark/Hastings intersection was blocked to make space for a sacred fire in the centre, rather than solely hold the entrance to port. This meant that while people were busy holding all four streets of the intersection, many drivers were able to reach the port entrance through a side street detour, effectively only blocking trucks from entering, but not workers. Similarly, because the other entrances to the port were not blocked, trucks and workers were still able to enter and leave through those entrances. The intentions with these reflections is not to dampen spirits, but help one another learn from each of these actions and build skills and analysis.

It’s been almost two years since the raid on Wet’suwet’en territories which led to the mass mobilizations of Shut Down Canada that saw ports and rails blockaded and sabotaged. After the mobilizations were hampered by police repression and covid-19, it was easy for supporters to think that the fight was over. But as Sleydo’ reported in a recent update from Gidimt’en Checkpoint, the Coastal Gaslink pipeline is behind schedule and only one third completed. The project is again being stopped before drilling under Wedzin Kwa headwaters by land defenders and water protectors, as it has been for over a decade.

Whether this pipeline goes through or not, resistance is life!

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