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Tensions boil over during Wet'suwet'en protest at Portage and Main
WINNIPEG -- It was a mainly peaceful protest at Portage and Main Wednesday afternoon as a show of support for pipeline opponents in the Wet'suwet'en First Nation, but at one point tensions boiled over.
Police removed a man who had tried intervening in the protests. The man was seen entering one of the circles, before being physically ousted by protesters. The man was eventually taken away by police. Some of the protestors told CTV News they were a little shaken up by the incident.
"There was just one individual who I guess was angry at the protest. I think it was a lack of understanding," one protestor said.
"A man decided to breach our circle and put his hands on Indigenous women. He put his hands on me," another protestor said.
This protest came as a result of RCMP arrests of anti-pipeline protestors in British Columbia, who are defying a court injunction by blocking construction of a Coastal GasLink pipeline. The natural gas pipeline has been approved by both the federal and provincial governments, as well as 20 band councils along the route, but hereditary chiefs in Wet’suwet’en say they have authority over the land to oppose the project.
A man is led away by Winnipeg police after trying to intervene during a protest at Portage and Main on Feb. 26, 2020. (Source: CTV News Winnipeg)
There have been a number of demonstrations in support of the cause across the country, including several rail blockades, which have grown in size since OPP officers arrested 10 people on Monday at a blockade in Tyendinaga, Ont.
This was this second rally to take place at Portage and Main in the last few weeks as a sign of solidarity with the First Nation in northern British Columbia, though there have been others in the city including a staged “die-in” on a downtown street.
Wednesday’s protest is being held from 3 to 5 p.m.
- With files from CTV’s Touria Izri, Devon McKendrick, Ben Cousins and Jonathan Forani.