Tyendinaga Protesters Standing Strong

In Editor Choice, National

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They are strong, they are determined and they are steadfast for the proper solution.

Since Friday, February 7, 2020, CN Rail and VIA Rail hasn’t moved past Wyman Road in Tyendinaga.

Protesters are camped out near the rail lines in support of Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs in BC.

Thousands of passengers have had to find alternate travel plans as the busiest rail corridor has come to a stop.

Rail lines at Wyman Road are even showing a light covering of rust.

Speaking to Today’s Northumberland, Andrew Brant from Tyendinaga said, “we are standing here strong, with Wet’suwet’en.”

A injunction given to the protesters earlier in the day was burned moments after receiving it.

Brant said the injunction, “is just a piece of paper. To us, that’s not our government, that’s not our law. So when they serve it to us – it’s just a piece of paper.”

The group of protesters were joined by others from Six Nation and Akwesasne.  When asked if the protesters were leaving Brant stated, “no, well we will. That just depends on the RCMP and when they want to retreat on their invasion.”

“It’s a fight over a pipeline. Don’t go through somebody’s homeland.”

Shortly after 9 a.m., Ontario Provincial Police officers weren’t allowing any traffic south of County Road 2 in the community of Tyendinaga.

But as the day went on, vehicle traffic was allowed to proceed south after police asked drivers and passengers questions.

At approximately 10 a.m. protesters walked over the rail lines to meet two police officers.

The private conversation lasted for nearly 30-minutes.

Minutes after, protesters made it clear to one videographer that he wasn’t welcomed at the site because of the style of coverage his media outlet is giving to the protest.

“You’re trespassing,” said one protester. “This is Indian land.”

Shortly after the videographer left the area.

Throughout the day on Monday, February 10, 2020 numerous people stopped by to offer support.

Jackson Pind is a Queen’s University student and drove down to offer support with a friend and drop off five bags of wood.

“We saw it online and we know some people from the reserve and we wanted to stand in solidarity with what they are doing especially with what’s happening out west.”

Pind said before he was allowed to pass through the OPP checkpoint police made it clear that if, “it got out of hand, police wouldn’t step in and help.

He was also asked if they knew anyone at the protest and their names. Pind didn’t give any information to police.

Bill Montgomery is native and came to show his support and thank the protestors for supporting, “our family out west and this cause.”

One of the reasons Montgomery and other natives are against the pipeline is to protect wildlife including salmon.

Montgomery shared some smoked salmon he brought and for the protesters, “to help them enjoy what they are trying to protect.”

————

VIA Rail issued a statement to Today’s Northumberland at 7 p.m. on Monday, February 10, 2020

Senior Director with Corporate Communications Marie-Anna Murat stated, “due to the blockade near Belleville (Ontario), VIA Rail wants to inform its passengers that all departures prior to 2 pm tomorrow February 11 are cancelled between Montreal-Toronto, Toronto-Ottawa, Toronto-Kingston. Until normal operations can resume, VIA Rail will issue daily notifications at 8 a.m. for the afternoon trains leaving after 2 p.m. and at 6 p.m. for the next day trains leaving before 2 p.m.

Although we remain hopeful that a resolution will be reached, in view of the current uncertainty, reservations can be cancelled for a full refund with no service charges up to two days prior to the departure date in stations during opening hours or by calling our VIA Customer Center at 1-888-VIA-RAIL (1-888 842-7245), TTY 800-268-9503 (deaf or hard of hearing). This refund applies to all services affected by the blockades as well as related connections.

Since the blockade continues near Hazelton (British Columbia), normal rail activities are interrupted between Prince Rupert-Prince George, in both directions. VIA Rail notified passengers via e-mail and will keep them informed as the situation evolves.

Passengers are being provided with details concerning their trip by email as the situation evolves and are invited to visit our website at viarail.ca for the updated schedule.

We know that this unfortunate situation has an impact on our passengers travelling plans and we apologize for the inconvenience it is causing. We encourage them, if they need to travel in the next few days, to use an alternative mode of transportation since we do not have the capability of providing one.

Pete Fisher
Author: Pete Fisher

Has been a photojournalist for over 30-years and have been honoured to win numerous awards for photography and writing over the years. Best selling author for the book Highway of Heroes - True Patriot Love

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