An intense scene played out on the lawns of the B.C. legislature late Wednesday night as police removed five Indigenous demonstrators from inside the government building.
Victoria Police confirm five Indigenous youth demonstrators were arrested for mischief after they refused to leave a planned meeting with Indigenous relations minister Scott Fraser.
The Indigenous youth, who have been occupying B.C.’s legislature for weeks, were invited in for a meeting with Fraser when they allegedly demanded he condemn the Costal GasLink pipeline project that crosses through the Wet’suwet’en First Nation territory in northern B.C.
When demands were not met, the demonstrators refused to leave.
“Our lives are more valuable than an economic bottom line which is why we are occupying this office currently,” said Indigenous youth leader Ta’kaiya Blaney on a live stream she posted to social media Wednesday night.
“We had a good conversation, but we know these meetings cannot set the tone for a history, and ongoing history, of colonization in this country.”
Victoria Police say they arrested five demonstrators at around 9 P.M. Wednesday. Police say that because Wet’suwet’en supporters crowded outside of the legislature, it took hours to get everyone out of the building.
“The protesters actively obstructed officers,” said Bowen Osoko, VicPD communications office.
“With the large crowd, it took several hours for our officers to be able safely transport the protesters to VicPD Headquarters," he said. "Officers who were responding to the scene were surrounded by over 100 protesters and were unable to respond to emergency calls for service.”
The activists were transported to cells and released on conditions not to return to the legislature grounds.
A mischief investigation continues. According to police, no one was injured.