Activists Block Train Lines In Ontario, Quebec Over B.C. Pipeline Protest

Demonstrators south of Montreal blocked a commuter train line into the city on Monday in solidarity with protesters opposed to a pipeline project in northwestern British Columbia.

Service on the Montreal train line was disrupted by opponents of the Coastal GasLink natural gas pipeline project that crosses through the traditional territory of the Wet’suwet’en First Nation in B.C.

Protests have cropped up across the country — notably in Belleville, Ont., where a blockade has led to the cancellation of Via Rail service between Montreal and Toronto since Friday. 

In Montreal, commuter train service on the Exo Candiac line could also be disrupted for an indefinite period, with officials keeping tabs on the evolving situation.

The public transit authority that operates the suburban train network in the Montreal metropolitan area says demonstrators near the Canadian Pacific Railway installations are hindering operations and the ultimate decision to keep the rail line open lies with track owner CP Rail.

A shuttle bus service is in effect for the rail stations that are affected, ferrying passengers to downtown Montreal.

B.C. cracks down

Nearly 50 people were arrested in Vancouver and nearby Delta on Monday after police executed a court injunction against demonstrators blocking busy ports in both cities, while protests also took place in Victoria and Montreal.

Officers arrived at around 5 a.m. local time after the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority obtained the injunction following protests that affected port operations through the weekend.

Protesters say they are acting in solidarity with Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs opposed to construction of the Coastal GasLink pipeline across their traditional territories in northwestern B.C.

Demonstrators at two entrances to the Vancouver port say 15 people were taken into custody at one location, while at least three had been arrested before 7 a.m. at the main protest site blocking access to several port terminals on the edge of downtown Vancouver.

A spokeswoman for the protesters says officers are also enforcing the injunction at the entrance to DeltaPort and port webcams show officers escorting people away from a blockade.

Neither Delta Police nor officials in Vancouver have commented on enforcement plans or the exact number of demonstrators taken into custody.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published on Feb. 10, 2020.

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