UPDATE: After over 12 hours locked to Trans Mountain equipment at a pump station in Blue River, two youth protesters, identified as “accomplices” to the Tiny House Warriors and Braided Warriors, have been cut out and arrested for breaking and entering.
The two non-Indigenous protesters attached themselves to the equipment at 6:30 a.m. this morning, and police and Trans Mountain security gathered at the site.
A video on the Braided Warriors Instagram page shows the two protesters being arrested by authorities.
No crews were working on the Trans Mountain site at the time of the lockdown.
“Trans Mountain respects the right to peaceful, lawful expressions of opinions,” they said in a statement.
The statement also noted the B.C. Supreme Court injunction that was put in place in 2018 that prevents the blocking or obstruction of the Trans Mountain’s operational facilities and worksites.
Tiny House Warriors have been occupying the space in Blue River for the last three winters, against the wishes of Simpcw First Nation and their Chief Shelly Loring, who penned a letter with Tk’emlups te Secwepemc Chief Rosanne Casimir.
“The Tiny House Warriors are not from Simpcw, nor are they our guests in our territory,” part of the letter read.
EARLIER: The Two youth who identify as allies of the Tiny House Warriors (THW) and Braided Warriors have locked themselves to Trans Mountain equipment at a pump station in Blue River.
The two non-Indigenous protesters have been on lockdown since 6:30 a.m. Saturday morning. One of the protesters is 17 years old.
THW and Braided Warriors are holding a ceremony close by, according to a press release.
Local RCMP, Trans Mountain security and community industry response group police are also on scene, Kanahus Freedom Manuel of the THW, told The Times.
“They’re our allies,” she said. “The construction has been ramping up in the area and it’s always been our duty to defend our land and by upholding our laws, which really speak about our responsibility to protect our land, and so our friends are taking a stand to support us in protecting our land.”
The THW have been occupying an area near the Blue River Trans Mountain pump station for the last three years, in an effort to protest the pipeline as well as raise awareness about the missing and murdered Indigenous women, girls and two-spirited people (MMIWG2S).
While the occupation has caused grief for many in the town of Blue River, the THW are adamant on making sure the pipeline doesn’t continue.
“Trans Mountain has never had the consent to operate on our land,” said Manuel. “These corporations must get prior and informed consent for these projects and they don’t have that and there’s risk, we’re showing them that there’s risk when they don’t have consent from Indigenous people.”
A video posted to the Braided Warriors Instagram page shows RCMP and security around the large equipment. The person speaking said police were reading what sounded like an injunction or arrest order.
Various First Nations groups have fought against the pipeline since expansion work began, calling themselves “land defenders” in relation to the unceded, unsurrendered land and lack of treaties in British Columbia.
They also argue that man camps and transient workers are part of the on-going MMIWG2S, something the THW group has been very vocal about since they began their occupation in Blue River.
“The pipeline is non-negotiable,” said Manuel. “We don’t want this pipeline through our land…so-called Crown land, but it’s our land and we’re going to continue to take areas of our land back to stop this pipeline and assert our creator-given rights to our lands.”
The group said the two youth plan to stay on lockdown until “the RCMP forcibly removes them.”