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All nations united with Wet'suwet'en


January 9, 2019

January 8th marked an international day of action in solidarity with the Wet’suwet’en nation as the RCMP began their raid on the Gitdimit’en check point in the Wet'suwet'en nation. Rallies took place as far off as Italy in support of the Wet'suwet'en's right to control their own lands. Thousands came out to let the Trudeau government know they are on the wrong side of history and that the whole world is watching. Members of the International Socialists from Victoria to Ottawa took to the streets with fellow protesters and allies. Here is what they had to report.

Ottawa

Around 250 protesters gathered in solidarity against the RCMP attack on Wet'suwet'en on Parliment Hill in Ottawa, on uncededed Algonquin territory. The protest was part of the international day of solidarity called to support the blockade and was indigenous-led but attended by many settler allies, particularly young people.

After several inspiring speeches on the Hill, protesters marched to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's office and blocked the major intersection in front of the building by holding hands and making a wide circle, marching and dancing to singers and drummers. They then continued to the next major intersection near a shopping mall and blocked it as well, chanting "Water is Life" and "RCMP, off indigenous territory. Some then continued on to confront a nearby meeting in a government building on Sussex Street, where demonstrators forced their way in. One sign read: "Reconciliation means nothing if the behaviour doesn't change”.

Toronto - Nathan Phillips square

An opening rally at Nathan Phillips square called for people of all backgrounds to come together in solidarity with indigenous land defenders. Speakers emphasized the hypocrisy of the Trudeau government who speaks of reconciliation but then sends militarized police to invade unceded territory. Jesse Wente ended the rally saying, "reconciliation doesn't happen at the end of a gun."

The crowd then marched to the financial centre of the Canadian state and occupied Bay and King streets. There speakers gave a warning to Canada's corporate elite the it would not be business as usual if indigenous voices continue to be silenced. Chanting, "you can't drink oil, leave it in the soil." and "shut down Canada" marchers then moved throughout the downtown.

Toronto East

About 25 people called a last-minute action at Liberal MP Julie Dabrusin's constituency office in Toronto's east end. Dabrusin spoke weasel words, passing the buck to the BC government who employ the RCMP as a provincial police force. People vowed to return with greater numbers to oppose the federal and BC governments and the criminal corporations they defend.

Vancouver

The demonstration in support of Unist'ot'en/Wet'suwet'en was the largest Vancouver has ever seen. There were powerful speeches from Chief Judy Wilson of Union of BC Indian Chiefs and Reuben George of Tsleil-waututh. The mood was angry but also very determined and clear that this is far from over. As Judy Wilson put it, "you can arrest all of us but a thousand will stand to take their place, no colonial prison can hold us."

 

 

 

 

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