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RCMP prepared to shoot Indigenous activists, Guardian reports

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In AWARE News Network
Dec 27th, 2019
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Heavily armed RCMP officers at Indigenous checkpoint

Heavily armed RCMP officers sent to Indigenous checkpoint with instructions for ‘sterlizing the site,’ documents reveal. Photo by Michael Toledano

UPDATES : Legal complaints filed against RCMP exclusion zone … UN calls for immediate RCMP withdrawal … ‘They are erasing our history’

AWARE News Network

On January 8 2019, AWARE Simcoe published a letter from a member expressing outrage over the violence and intimidation shown towards peaceful protestors protecting unceded Wet’suwet’en territory. Wet’suwet’en arrests – this is Canada? Not in our name!

Now, almost a year later, investigate work by British journalists reveals that the RCMP – whose actions revealed on video were shocking enough – had snipers on hand with authorization to shoot to kill and use whatever violence they wanted towards the protestors.

Yes, this is Canada. And No, this is not acceptable. Take charge, Justin Trudeau and all your ministers

RCMP Planned to Use Snipers in Assault on Wet’suwet’en Protest, planning documents show

The Tyee December 20 2019

The RCMP were prepared to use snipers with shoot-to-kill orders when they launched a raid to remove Indigenous protesters slowing pipeline construction in Wet’suwet’en territory, the Guardian reported today.

The exclusive report by Jaskiran Dhillon and Will Parrish reveals RCMP planning notes included arguments that “lethal overwatch is req’d,” a term for deploying snipers.

The Guardian reports RCMP commanders instructed officers to “use as much violence toward the gate as you want” as they planned the Jan. 7 action to remove a gated checkpoint and camp about 120 kilometres southwest of Smithers.

The RCMP sent heavily armed officers in military-style fatigues to break down a gate, arrest 14 people and enforce a “temporary exclusion zone” that barred anyone aside from police from the area. The police were enforcing an injunction obtained by Coastal GasLink, the company building a pipeline to take natural gas to a planned LNG project in Kitimat.

The Guardian reports RCMP documents note arrests would be necessary for “sterilizing the site.” Plans included arresting everyone in the injunction area, including children and elders.

They also show the RCMP conducted surveillance in advance of the raid including heavily armed police patrols, drones, heat-sensing cameras and monitoring of protesters social media postings.

And the report reveals the RCMP and pipeline company officials worked closely together on strategy.

Need to know more?

The Tyee has covered the blockade and the police and corporate response extensively (Click here for links to reports listed below).

-The day after the raid, Zoë Ducklow provided a primer on the protest, the pipeline and the Wet’suwet’en use of the land.

-Ducklow also prepared this report offering the views of Chief Judy Wilson, secretary treasurer of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs and a community leader.

-Judith Sayers, a lawyer and former chief of the Hupacasath First Nation, wrote about why the Indigenous people at the blockade, not the RCMP, had the law on their side.

-Amanda Follett Hosgood reported on Wet’suwet’en hereditary Chief Na’Moks’ speech to the United Nations after the police raid.

-Follet Hosgood also reported on complaints by Indigenous leaders and families that police were doing little to investigate missing women cases while devoting a large amount of resources to protecting pipeline companies.

-Andrew Nikiforuk set out Canada’s history of using militarized police to monitor and shut down attempts to asset Indigenous rights.

See also 

Public Safety minister says RCMP language about Wet’suwet’en ‘unacceptable’ 

Reports of RCMP snipers dispatched to Wet’suwet’en blockade ‘concerning,’ says Indigenous Services minister

TransCanada bulldozes traplines on Wet’suwet’en land

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