Ontario Provincial Police arrive to remove Tyendinaga Mohawk camp beside CN Rail line
Less than three days after the prime minister declared that the "blockades" must come down, Ontario Provincial Police have begun enforcing a court injunction obtained by CN Rail.
This morning, officers showed up in force at a Tyendinaga Mohawk encampment near Belleville, Ontario.
Several people were arrested and were taken away by the OPP in a transport truck.
They were alongside the rail line for 19 days in solidarity with Wet'suwet'en hereditary chiefs in northern B.C.
The Mohawk land defenders issued a statement earlier this morning saying they were told by Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller "to expect confirmation of RCMP removal from Wet'suwet'en territory soon".
"There has always and continues to be a willingness from the Tyendinaga Mohawks to discuss an exit strategy of the CN Rail Main Line," the statement reads. "We are currently waiting on confirmation from the Wet'suwet'en Hereditary Chiefs that the RCMP have left Wet'suwet'en territory as they have just arrived home after visiting our lines.
"We want to remind the public that we have never physically obstructed the tracks and we have been in peaceful solidarity with the Wet'suwet'en," the statement continues. "The train tracks run through Tuendinaga Mohawk Territory as established by the Simcoe Deed of 1793, Treaty 3 1/2."
They argued that they were not in violation of the injunction obtained by CN Rail because they were not trespassing on CN's railway right-of-way "as this is Tyendinaga Territory as proclaimed by the Simcoe Deed of 1793".
The hereditary chiefs have not given consent for the Coastal GasLink pipeline, which has been approved by the B.C. government and will cross their unceded traditional territory.
After RCMP officers arrived on traditional Wet'suwet'en territory to enforce a separate injunction obtained by Coastal GasLink, the Wet'suwet'en asked for help, leading to solidarity actions that shut down roads, rail lines, and ports.
Some estimated that this was costing the Canadian economy hundreds of millions of dollars a day. Last week, Via Rail announced nearly 1,000 temporary layoffs.
The Mounties began by arresting the hereditary chiefs' invited guests in early February, including legal observers, before later arresting Wet'suwet'en matriarchs near the Unist'ot'en Healing Center as they were performing a ceremony to honour missing and murdered Indigenous women.
One of the Wet'suwet'en hereditary chiefs' conditions for talking to the government was that the RCMP leave their traditional unceded territory.
The RCMP responded by shutting a temporary detachment.
However, according to the Unist'ot'en Camp Twitter feed, officers remained in the area.
That's a key reason why the Tyendinaga Mohawks did not take down their camp after being given an ultimatum on Sunday (February 23) by Ontario Provincial Police.
In the tweet below, one of the Wet'suwet'en hereditary chiefs, Chief Woos, can be heard speaking to one of the Mohawks as the OPP raid was underway.
The Unist'ot'en Camp tweeted this morning that Mounties drove into their area "the minute arrests were happening" in Ontario.
Journalists are being kept quite far away from the Ontario Provincial Police action, which has engendered some cynicism on Twitter about the reason for this.