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Feb 26, 20

Solidarity Actions Continue After Tyendinaga Raid, As Calls for Repression & Far-Right Vigilantism Escalate

On the morning of February 24th, the Ontario Provisional Police (OPP) launched a raid against a railroad blockade and encampment on unceded Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory that had been established on February 6th in solidarity with the ongoing Wet’suwet’en struggle against the invasion by the RCMP and Coastal GasLink. The raid comes several days after Mohawk and Wet’suwet’en leaders met on Mohawk Territory to reaffirm their ties of solidarity. SubMedia reports that 10 people were arrested during the initial raid, as police violently enforced an injunction against the blockade which, along with many other blockades and shutdowns, has caused a massive disruption throughout the Canadian economy. Real People’s Media reports that the raid on the Tyendinaga encampments and blockades ended in one person being hospitalized.

In the lead up to the raid, calls for the police to forcefully intervene against protesters have also gained momentum in the corporate press, on far-Right media, and from the political class. Both real and potential violence from pipeline supporters and the far-Right is becoming an increasing threat. As Gord Hill also noted in a recent interview:

In Saskatoon there was a blockade of a CP rail line and there has been almost an equal number of counterprotesters that showed up waving Canadian flags and that, and there’s been calls for groups to organize and go down to Tyendinaga before that was raided by the police this morning. You see this kind of increase in the calls for vigilanteism and the actual taking action by these groups, and a part of that is that we’ve seen more organizing and networking by the far right over the last few years, really empowered also by the Trump election and that. In Edmonton, you’ve seen a lot of rallies by far right groups and I think this networking helps them organize like a small mob to go down and confront a native blockade. I think that’s part of what’s going on.

As in the US, the far-Right acts as an auxiliary force to the State; attacking social movements when repression might risk a larger blow back from the wider population. As Socialist Project reported:

On Wednesday, February 19, 2020, far Right vigilantes set upon and tore down a blockade set up outside Edmonton by Indigenous people acting in solidarity with Wet’suwet’en land defenders. At Edmonton, RCMP, who they and politicians say are sent to the blockades as matters of “public safety,” notably stood by while the far Rightists confronted the solidarity blockaders and took down the blockades. It is important to point out, in the context of rule of law narratives, that no injunction had been served against the blockaders at the time the far right vigilantes assailed the blockade. They were not breaking the law.

Those who put out calls to dismantle blockades and those who showed up claimed openly to be involved with far Right groups including the Yellow Vests Canada (YVC) and wexit (western Canada exit movement), and involved people who were part of the United We Roll (UWR) mobilization on Parliament Hill last year. These are groups that have been identified as far Right, extremist hate groups and have been associated with neofascism in Canada.

But if the goal of the raid on Tyendinaga was to send a message to the growing Wet’suwet’en solidarity movement – then just as with the initial raid on Wet’suwet’en territory, it failed horribly. In a matter of hours, new rail blockades were springing up across the country, the port in Vancouver was again shut down, youth in Victoria launched a second encampment outside of the BC Legislature, acts of sabotage are still being carried out, and mass marches and solidarity demonstrations are still being organized. Moreover, even the encampments in Tyendinaga are still standing and are asking to be resupplied. In areas like Toronto, continued showdowns between the police and blockaders are also increasingly bringing more and more people into direct conflict with the State and capitalist infrastructure.

But while the raid on Tyendinaga seems to have backfired, the push by those within the State to clear the streets and railroads of Native land defenders and their accomplices is only growing louder.

As National News wrote:

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney’s United Conservative Party announced a new bill in Tuesday’s throne speech that is designed to put a stop to what he calls “illegal blockades.”

“I have spoken to major player investors who have withdrawn or canceled multibillion dollar projected investments in Canada, in part because of an appearance of inability for Canada to govern itself along our critical infrastructure in particular,” Kenney said.

He said the blockading of what he calls “critical infrastructure” is illegal and needs to stop. “This is not legitimate and lawful protest. Albertans and Canadians respect our constitutionally protected freedoms of expression of assembly and to protest, but blocking railways, roadways ,commuter trains and critical infrastructure is simply and plainly illegal,” he said.

“That is why today, the government of Alberta has introduced in the legislature, Bill number one, the Critical Infrastructure Defense Act, which imposes stiff new penalties on lawbreakers who purposefully block critical essential infrastructure, such as railways, roadways, telecommunication lines, utilities, oil and gas production and refinery sites, pipelines and related infrastructure.” Kenney said penalties will include daily fines for individuals of up to ten thousand dollars, or a six month prison sentence. or both. with each day of protest, a new charge and fine.

Such a push mirrors similar laws already on the books in the so-called US, (pushed by the oil industry), which in some areas has further criminalized protesting and interfering with resource extraction; making it a felony offense.

While solidarity actions do not appear to be losing steam – if anything they continue to activate more and more people; the road ahead remains a difficult one. As indigenous artist and author Gord Hill recently stated:

The Unist’ot’en are in a hard situation just based on the terrain, cause there’s just that one access road, the forest service road, that the RCMP basically control. But the RCMP have had a permanent detachment on this forest road for over a year now, they call it the Community Industry Safety office. So apparently yesterday the police closed that down. But they still patrol the roadway and they escort the Coastal Gas Link heavy machinery up and down the road, so they’re always there. So that demand hasn’t been met.

And now the linchpin of the rail blockade, Tyendinaga, has been taken down, so we’re just going to have to see how strong the response is going to remain in Kanehsatake, Kahnawake and Six Nations, and how many more of these blockades occur and for how long. A lot of them pop up for a day and they’re gone, some of them have injunctions served on them so the police will be able to act a lot quicker, like what’s happening in New Hazelton right now. They’re being removed from the tracks.

I think that a lot of the advantage that the blockades have is running its course now, but we’ll have to see. It will probably hinge a lot on the response from the Mohawk communities in response to the Tyendinaga raid.

With that in mind, here’s a look at the explosion of solidarity actions that has broken out across so-called Canada following the Tyendinaga raid.

Monday, February 24th:

So-called British Columbia:

All West Coast Express trains heading east from Vancouver to Mission were cancelled Monday afternoon during the rush hour commute as protesters blocked tracks in the Port Haney area.

By mid-afternoon, hundreds of people had gathered near the entrance to the B.C. Legislature. Police stood on the stairs flanking protesters, but there were no reports of arrests. Later, protesters blocked the progress of a police van that arrived at the legislature.

Some protesters locked themselves to a gate at the legislature, which was the scene of a large protest on Feb. 11, which prompted the province to obtain an injunction when entrances to the building were blocked. Organizers said Monday they’re staying for the long haul.

Nearly 100 people also blocked access to the Port of Vancouver at East Hastings Street and Clark Drive, preventing container trucks from leaving the port.

A new CN Rail blockade was also set up in northwestern B.C. on Monday near New Hazelton, north of Smithers, less than two weeks after one was dismantled at the same location.

So-called Saskatchewan:

So-called Ontario:

International Bridge Shut Down

As of 5pm today (February 24th) we have set-up a rail blockade in Hamilton, ON., in response to the OPP raid on Tyendinaga this morning. Our intention is to stay here indefinitely and we are calling on others to join us (See map below). Come for a couple hours or stay for the night, and bring your friends! If you plan on coming out, dress warmly, bring blankets and sleeping bags, and snacks are always welcome. If you can’t make it out, please help spread the word and share this with your networks.

The site is a bit tricky to get to, but not impossible. It can be accessed from either the West or East side of the tracks, and there is parking scattered around relatively close on both sides.

  • Mass rally in Parliament Hill, ON blocked major streets.

Fire on train tracks in Tyendinaga

Philadelphia, PA: Communique claiming responsibility with rail sabotage in solidarity with Wet’suwet’en struggle posted on Philly Anti-Capitalist:

This week we used copper wire to disrupt rail traffic on two different tracks here in occupied Lenapehoking. Solidarity with the Wet’suwet’en nation, and all those blockading and sabotaging the economy and the state.

They are trying to extinguish our spirits. Keep a strong heart. Keep your heart burning bright. Reconciliation is dead, insurgency is alive!

Tuesday, February 25th:

So-called British Columbia:

  • Port of Vancouver continues to be shut-down.

  • Encampment in Victoria continues in front of BC Legislature.

So-called Ontario:

After holding the blockade for 24 hours, and enduring not one but two readings of the unbelievably long injunction, we decided to end the blockade and walk away on our own terms. Everyone got away, no arrests, no contact with police. Today we blockaded and diverted not one, two, or three, separate rail companies but four, those four being Via Rail, GO/Metrolinx, CN, and CP.

This is just the start. See you at the barricades.

  • School walk out in solidarity with Wet’suwet’en in Eastside High School.

  • Blockade of East-West rail line kicks off in Toronto. Leads to mass confrontation with the police.

  • Caledonia, ON: 6 Nations launches new blockade of Highway 6. Shuts down GO trains.

So-called Quebec:

  • Mass march in Montreal in solidarity with Wet’suwet’en.

  • Rail blockade launched in Lennoxville, Quebec.

In the night from Sunday to Monday, an electrical signaling box located along the CN rail line in Pointe-St-Charles was burned. We hope that traffic will be interrupted again and for as long as possible. We targeted the rails not only because they are the colonial infrastructure par excellence, but also because the majority of natural resources are moved by train. We give a warm salute to all those fighting extractivism and domination: the mines that destroy the land (even the lithium mines needed for the production of electric car batteries), the extraction and transportation of oil and natural gas, the devastation of forests, from one side of the country to the other. We want freedom, dignity, self-determination and a healthy life – for everyone and without concession.

Philadelphia, PA: Lockdown in front of Chase bank.

Wednesday, February 26th

So-called British Columbia:

  • Street blockades on Vancouver Island. Blocking Highway 17.

  • Third day of the second occupation in front of the BC Legislation in Victoria.

So-called Manitoba:

  • Mass march in solidarity with Wet’suwet’en blocks streets in Winnipeg.

So-called Ontario:

  • Mohawks on Tyendinaga Territory launch more blockades; set fire to the tracks. Supporters in the community continue to bring supplies.

  • Barricades erected in Mohawk territory in Kahnawake.

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