London and Edinburgh stand with the Wet’suwet’en

Wet’suwet’en land defenders are under attack by Canadian armed police units attempting to force them from their own lands in order to clear the way for the Coastal GasLink pipeline. On 1 March, there were demonstrations in London and Edinburgh standing up in solidarity with the Wet’suwet’en and their allies, demanding that the Canadian government end this cycle of colonial violence.

The London demonstration was a collaboration between rs21 and Wet’suwet’en Solidarity UK, with support from Student Climate Action, Reclaim the Power, UK Youth Climate Coalition, the International Solidarity Group, Jewdas, Wretched of the Earth, Green Anti-capitalist Front and Papua Militant International.

Outside Canada House on Trafalgar Square, slogans were raised demanding an end to the invasion of Wet’suwet’en land and the shelving of the pipeline project, and identifying the racism and brutality of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. Charlie Powell, one of the rs21 organisers, spoke about the ongoing struggle against colonialism and the necessity of movements for climate justice standing in solidarity with Indigenous peoples.

We are here today in solidarity with the Wet’suwet’en land defenders who are fighting against a state which seeks to crush them. We are here in commitment to make their struggle our own, united, to win. To build bridges of solidarity across borders, across oceans, across the world until we have justice. 

A speaker from London Young Palestine Solidarity Campaign connected Canada’s settler colonial project to the Israeli apartheid regime. The Palestinian BDS National Committee has released a statement of solidarity with the Wet’suwet’en nation which was read out at the rally.

From Palestine to Wet’suwet’en, we stand united with you in the struggle against settler colonialism, racism, corporate criminality and your inalienable rights for justice and self-determination.

The value of international solidarity was demonstrated by interventions from West Papuan militant Serogo Tabuni, who delivered a statement from the International Indigenous Peoples Movement for Self-Determination and Liberation (IPMSDL) and the Merdeka West Papua Support Network. Read the full text in the description via YouTube.

The attacks against the Indigenous Wet’suwet’en people exposes the Canadian state’s continuing colonial aggression against First Nations. Prime Minister Trudeau’s administration has made their priorities clear – profit for multinational corporations trumps Indigenous Peoples’ rights and sovereignty.

A group of organised Filipino domestic workers performed a dance in solidarity against gendered violence.

A speaker from the UK Youth Climate Coalition highlighted how the Wet’suwet’en struggle has demonstrated clearly the link between climate breakdown and imperialism.

The demonstration marched through Trafalgar Square and then to the statue of James Cook, highlighting the long history of Britain’s culpability in settler colonialism. Passing through Trafalgar Square, the protest acted as a rolling blockade of traffic, echoing the tactics being used across Canada.

Trafalgar Square.
Demonstrating at the James Cook statue.

Outside Downing Street.

After marching down Whitehall the protest ended outside Downing Street. Charlie Jackson from rs21 argued for continuing the long history of acts of international solidarity in the face of attacks on the conditions of existence of peoples across the world. The impacts of settler colonial police forces and extractive industries tie us together in common struggle; the ruling classes learn from each other, and so must we.

At the same time, another rally was held in Edinburgh. The protest was called by Scot.E3 and supported by Friends of the Earth Scotland, Global Justice Now Scotland, rs21 Scotland, People and Planet Edinburgh, Edinburgh Youth Climate Strike, Green Anti-capitalist Front and XR Edinburgh. The breadth of support provides a good basis for continuing solidarity actions as we build for mass mobilisation at COP 26 in Glasgow later in the year.

Environmental activists mobilised in Edinburgh. Photo via Pete Cannell.

2 COMMENTS

  1. […] Wet’suwet’en land defenders are under attack by Canadian armed police units attempting to force them from their own lands in order to clear the way for the Coastal GasLink pipeline. On 1 March, there were demonstrations in London and Edinburgh standing up in solidarity with the Wet’suwet’en and their allies, demanding that the Canadian government end this cycle of colonial violence. Pleare read more https://www.rs21.org.uk/2020/03/02/london-and-edinburgh-stand-with-the-wetsuweten/ […]

  2. Anyone wishing to contribute to the Wet’suwet’en legal challenges can donate to raventrust.com/wetsuweten. RAVEN is the Canadian charity that supports Indigenous legal defence. We are currently raising funds for both the judicial review and the section 91 Constitutional charter challenge.

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