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GALLERY: Hundreds turn out at Halifax rally in solidarity with Wet'suwet'en (33 photos)

Over 200 people showed up on Sunday to a rally and march organized in solidarity with Wet'suwet'en
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Over 200 people showed up on Sunday to a rally and march organized in solidarity with Wet'suwet'en First Nation in British Columbia.

Although on the opposite side of the country, Haligonians and community leaders who spoke at Cornwallis Park were passionate about showing support for the group, who have been facing RCMP presence and political pressure after refusing to allow the Coastal Gas pipeline to run through their land earlier this month.

"It is beautiful to see people rising up across Turtle Island right now in defense of the Wet'suwet'en nation, in defense of the Unist'ot'en hereditary chiefs that have been saying no for the last decade," said Darius Mirshahi.

Addressing the crowd, Mirshahi said this march and other solidarity rallies across the nation would show the government that the country is not as divided as they seem.

"We see people blocking trains, we see people blocking ports, we see people rising up and confronting the politicians, confronting the corporations behind this," he said. "And the Canadian state is scared. They didn't expect this level of unity. They did not expect this level of solidarity."

Indigenous leaders including Mi'kmaq language protector Bernie Francis also addressed the crowd. He said he hoped that everyone standing in solidarity would use their voice to contact their politicians and show their support for Wet'suwet'en.

"Write to them and force them to sit down with the Wet'suwet'en people and the traditional council and resolve this issue," Francis explained.

Francis told the energetic crowd that he didn't want the continuation of RCMP interference and wanted to see a peaceful resolution, suggesting Prime Minister Justin Trudeau himself should meet with hereditary chiefs.

"It cannot be done with RCMP. It cannot be done with sending an army," he added. "Of course they can defeat us with guns, but the only way to do it is to sit down and talk."

The rally also included chanting, songs, and Indigenous drumming. Eventually, a group of Mi'kmaq people led the march up Barrington St., and walked along Spring Garden Rd. to end at Victoria Park on the corner of South Park St.

Speaker Sakura Saunders said that although rail disruption have been inconvenient, it is nothing compared to the challenges Indigenous land protectors face.

"Is it impacting ordinary people to the point where any comparison to terrorism is at all appropriate? Of course not," she said.

In Halifax, Wet’suwet’en solidarity actions have included a blockade at the Fairview Cove Container Terminal and the disruption of a visit by Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland. 

"We know that the future is Indigenous sovereignty, is environmental justice," Saunders added. "We need to disrupt business as usual. We need to disrupt the way things are operating because it is putting us on a crash course to climate catastrophe."


Victoria  Walton

About the Author: Victoria Walton

Victoria is HalifaxToday.ca's weekend editor and a Halifax-based freelancer. She is originally from Nova Scotia's Annapolis Valley.
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