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Police and Indigenous blockades going up, work to begin again on B.C. pipeline

SMITHERS, B.C. – A convoy of work trucks passed through a police roadblock today heading to the Unist’ot’en camp to dismantle barriers that had blocked workers from starting construction on a natural gas pipeline through Wet’suwet’en territory.

Senior officers in the RCMP’s Indigenous liaison unit were also going to the site, which has been the centre of growing tensions in a dispute over the pipeline and Indigenous claims to the land.

On Thursday, hereditary chiefs struck a deal with RCMP, agreeing to abide with an interim court injunction by not blocking access to the site.

In exchange, the chiefs said members of the First Nation would not be arrested and the Unist’ot’en camp would be allowed to remain intact.

Chief Na’Moks said they made the temporary agreement to protect Wet’suwet’en members, some of whom were already traumatized after another checkpoint was dismantled and 14 people were arrested on Monday.

Coastal GasLink president Rick Gateman said the agreement lays the groundwork for the company to have free access to the area for pre-construction and construction work on the pipeline, which will run to LNG Canada’s $40-billion export facility in Kitimat.

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