Indigenous activists end Port Coquitlam rail blockade to attend Women's Memorial March

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      At noon today, the activists who shut down the West Coast Express commuter rail service last night and this morning will be in the Downtown Eastside.

      They chose to end their blockade on the Pitt River Rail Bridge so they can attend the 29th annual Women's Memorial March in Vancouver.

      The march begins at noon at the intersection of Main and East Hastings Street in Vancouver.

      Frank Joseph emphasized that he and his fellow land defenders are not "retreating" or "quitting".

      "Our heart is still with Wet'suwet'en and our heart is still here wanting to block every single means of transportation—and try to disrupt what's going on right now—because of how much we've been disrupted in the past since contact," the Indigenous activist declared. 

      "One of the biggest reasons personally why I've decided to go is because I wanted to go to the Women's Memorial March for my cousins, my aunties, my sisters, and all the families that's been hurting all over our country for I don't know how long," he continued. "So all the things that are going on with the RCMP are also connected directly to this."

      As examples, he cited the Highway of Tears murders in northern B.C. and the Robert William Pickton murders in Port Coquitlam.

      "These are the reasons we do this," Joseph said. "These are why we want to go downtown because I have a lot of family downtown that really needs—really needs—my support, really needs my help."

      Joseph reiterated that the demonstrators' hearts remain with the Wet'suwet'en, the climate, future generations, the safety of Indigenous people, and opposition to the pipeline. And he said the reason for being at the blockade was the RCMP's refusal to leave traditional unceded Wet'suwet'en territory.

      "These RCMP are here because we're here," Joseph said. "And we're here because the RCMP are there."

      On February 6, the RCMP began arresting Wet'suwet'en people and their invited guests along the Morice West Forest Service Road.

      The national police force was enforcing a B.C. Supreme Court injunction obtained by Coastal GasLink, which plans to build a pipeline from northeastern B.C. to Kitimat through unceded Wet'suwet'en traditional lands.