Hamilton. Ontario. On Tuesday, November 23rd, around 7 am, about 40+ community members gathered at the gates of the Shell terminal in Hamilton located at 391 Burlington St E, blocking refuelling tankers from entering or leaving the facility.
Royal Dutch Shell is a key stakeholder in the LNG canada project, which includes an export facility in Kitimat as well as the Coastal Gas Link pipeline itself. Shell was responsible for choosing TC Energy to build and operate the pipeline, which if successfully built would transport liquid natural gas over the 670km through the unceded territory of many Indigenous Nations including the Wet’suwet’en. Hereditary leadership from all house groups have been resisting pipeline development through their Yintahs for over a decade.
New blockades have gone up these last weeks on Morice West Forest Service Rd in the territory to prevent Coastal Gaslink from drilling on Wedzin Kwa River, the headwaters that resource the entire territory and give life to its peoples and ecosystems.
Supporters took up the call of solidarity following militarized RCMP raids on Gidimt’en Checkpoint on November 18, arresting land defenders, elders, and journalists. At least 10 land defenders remain in custody, facing conditions proposed by Coastal Gaslink that would bar them from freely accessing Wet’suwet’en lands that they have title to or are guests on.
During the morning, supporters learned that fuel trucks trapped in the facility were carrying fuel addressed to a Brantford facility out of diesel, further impacting industry and causing economic damage.
Around 10 am, the crowd moved from the Shell terminal gates to take the street and shut all lanes of Burlington St, a key industrial access road and thoroughfare. The disruption brought all traffic to a standstill. We were not moved, even when two individuals attempted to drive a red pick up truck – Alberta license plate EVZ 546 – through our line. Together we refused to be intimidated, thinking of eachother’s safety and the strength shown by the Wet’suwet’en in the face of intimidation from members of the RCMP and CGL employees. Of particular note, we remember the courage of individuals out west as RCMP officers approached residential cabins with chainsaws and axes, jamming all radio communication devices with the song “ring around the rosie” before tearing doors open and, eventually, burning at least one cabin to the ground.
Hamilton police met the attempt by Albertans to drive through us in an unsurprising placid manner.
We take this instance as yet one more reminder that we keep us safe, and that the violence against Indigenous people and their allies is sanctioned by the state and its agents – including Hamilton police and RCMP – against resistance to the colonial project of canada. A couple could gleefully drive their vehicle into a crowd of people in front of state agents and freely go home, while Indigenous land defenders are currently being detained and barred from accessing their lands. It goes without saying: fuck the police, RCMP out of the Yintah, and canada out of everywhere.