In response to the exclusive Guardian report, critics called the actions of Canadian authorities “abhorrent and unconscionable.”
In an exclusive report Friday that outraged human rights advocates worldwide, The Guardian revealed that Canadian police wanted snipers on standby for a January 2019 crackdown on Indigenous land defenders who were blocking construction of a natural gas pipeline through unceded Wet’suwet’en territory.
The Guardian reported on official records—documents as well as audio and video content—reviewed by the newspaper related to the police “invasion” that led to 14 arrests:
Notes from a strategy session for a militarized raid on ancestral lands of the Wet’suwet’en nation show that commanders of Canada’s national police force, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), argued that “lethal overwatch is req’d”—a term for deploying snipers.
The RCMP commanders also instructed officers to “use as much violence toward the gate as you want” ahead of the operation to remove a roadblock which had been erected by Wet’suwet’en people to control access to their territories and stop construction of the proposed 670km (416-mile Coastal GasLink pipeline (CGL).
Indigenous land defenders established the Gidimt’en checkpoint—where the police operation took place—as part of a broader battle against pipeline builder TC Energy, formerly known as TransCanada. The RCMP action was an attempt to enforce a court injunction that came in response to the Unist’ot’en camp established on Wet’suwet’en territory in opposition to the pipeline.
Chilling euphemisms of 'sterlizing the site' and using 'lethal overwatch': police approaches to Indigenous protestors in Canadahttps://t.co/4jXMQOqUzo
— Lucy Delap (@suff66) December 20, 2019