A small group of people, some in masks, gathered outside a downtown Kingston bank to protest the arrest of demonstrators fighting the construction of a pipeline in British Columbia.
On Monday evening, 14 people were arrested by the RCMP for allegedly trying to stop the removal of a blockade that prevented access to the Coastal GasLink pipeline project in northern B.C. The pipeline route travels through the territory of the Wet’suwet’en First Nation.
Protests erupted throughout Canada in response to the RCMP’s actions, which were prompted by a B.C. Supreme Court injunction. One demonstration in Ottawa targeted a building where Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was set to give a speech.
Those who gathered just before 5 p.m. on Tuesday in Kingston blocked a portion of downtown Princess Street in front of the RBC. A spokesperson for the group, who would not give their name or show their face, said the group chose to set up in front of the bank because the financial institution is advising one of the backers of the pipeline.
None of the other protesters present would comment for this story.
The masked protester also said they were fighting against what they called an “act of war” when the RCMP allegedly broke through the Gitdumt’en checkpoint and entered onto Wet’suwet’en lands, which the protester said were never ceded to the Canadian government.
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“I think what Canadians need to understand is unceded means that land does not belong to Canada. Canada invaded somebody else’s land,” the protester said.
One lane of Princess Street was kept open to allow cars to drive through the protest. A few from the group handed out flyers explaining why the protesters were out on the street to passing cars that would accept them.
Kingston police were on scene to direct traffic. There were a few tense moments between protesters and police, but the group left Princess Street without incident less than an hour after they arrived.