Indigenous protesters impede traffic on Quebec highways after multiple arrests in Tyendinaga
MONTREAL -- Indigenous protesters hindered traffic on highways in Quebec Monday in support of those who were arrested in Tyendinaga, Ont.
Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) moved in on a Mohawk blockade after supporters of the Wet'suwet'en hereditary chiefs refused to leave, despite being given a deadline of 11:59 p.m. Sunday to clear the area in order to avoid a police investigation and potential charges.
Officers arrested 10 people and confirmed each person was facing multiple charges, but have been released with conditions.
"We're not happy. We're very upset with what happened in Tyendinaga this morning. The OPP acted irrationally," said Kenneth Deer, secretary of the Mohawk National Council of Kahnawake. "We are not going to take down our barricades and we will continue to have peaceful demonstrations in support of the chiefs of Wet'suwet'en."
QUEBEC HIGHWAYS BLOCKED
In Oka, a small village northwest of Montreal -- and the site of a deadly land dispute in 1990, Mohawk protesters set up a blockade preventing access to part of the R-344 between rangs Saint-Jean and de l'Annonciation.
Earlier in the morning, the inbound Honoré Mercier Bridge was blocked after a slow-moving convoy halted traffic for several minutes on the R-138 in Montreal's south shore.
The protesters were being escorted by a peacekeeper.
Demonstrators also drove slowly down the R-132, in Montreal's south shore, pausing traffic towards the Mercier Bridge.
According to witnesses, they approached the bridge before turning around and heading back to the barricade in Kahnawake.
Deer would not say if there are plans for more highway blockages in Quebec.
"The motorcade was to show our displeasure and all we did was slow down traffic," said Deer. "It demonstrates the potential of what we could do if we wanted to. This community is very, very solid…We want to make this thing a peaceful demonstration, we're not looking for confrontation or violence."
For the last two weeks, protesters have been gathering across Canada to oppose the Coastal GasLink natural gas pipeline in northern British Columbia.
MOHAWK COMMUNITY MEETS
Members of the Mohawk community of Kahnawake met on Monday night at the Knights of Columbus Hall to discuss the ongoing demonstrations in support of the Wet'suwet'en hereditary chiefs.
Joe Delaronde, a member of the Mohawk Council of Kahnawake, said land protectors expressed their "outrage and disgust" towards the actions taken by the OPP in Tyendinaga.
The police force in Kahnawake, known as peacekeepers, told those who attended the meeting that they have no intention of enforcing any injunctions that would remove Mohawk protesters from their rail blockade.
Community members also expressed concern over misinformation, Delaronde said, with some asking if the Mercier Bridge had been completely blocked, or if traffic had just been slowed down.
Many in Kahnawake argued they didn't want a repeat of what happened in 1990, when the bridge was blocked in solidarity with the Mohawks in Kanesatake, who had cut off access to an area where a golf course was expected to expand onto their traditional territory.
-- with files from CTV News' Amanda Kline and The Canadian Press.