Wet’wuwet’en supporters formed soft blockade lines around the steps of the B.C. Legislature on Saturday after a counter-protester was reportedly spotted. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)

UPDATED: Wet’suwet’en supporters occupying BC legislature mobilize for rumoured counter-protest

A rally was held following reports of white supremacy group in the area

Supporters of Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs occupying the B.C. Legislature held an all-day rally on Saturday in anticipation of a white supremacy group rumoured to attend.

Indigenous speakers began addressing the crowd at 10 a.m. on Feb. 29 – day six of the group’s second occupation of the B.C. legislature steps – and explained that a white supremacy group called Soldiers of Odin had indicated that members planned to make an appearance at the legislature.

READ ALSO: First arrests made at BC Legislature after demonstrators spray chalk on property

The large group of Wet’suwet’en supporters was gathered to hear various speakers discuss standing up to hate “from a position of love,” said Ta’kaiya Blaney, one of the young Indigenous people occupying the steps of the legislature.

“White supremacists feel threatened because they know their systems are dying and we [Indigenous people] are very much alive,” Blaney said as the crowd cheered and raised their fists.

Blaney noted that the focus of the demonstration should remain on the Wet’suwet’en opposing the Coastal GasLink pipeline, not on white supremacy.

Rally attendees were invited to take part in a briefing on soft blockade techniques to prepare for the possible appearance of the counter-protesters.

At noon, rally attendees made their way across the legislature lawn after a member of the Soldiers of Odin was allegedly spotted. The man, dressed in black, quickly departed as the Wet’suwet’en supporters approached.

READ ALSO: Wet’suwet’en supporters occupying legislature in Victoria hold mass day-long teach-in

Conrad Peach, president of the Soldiers of Odin Vancouver Island, told Black Press Media in an email sent Sunday morning that no members of the group went to the legislature on Saturday and that rumours of their presence were a “complete fabrication.”

“It is not my organization’s responsibility to enforce the laws of Canada but if our government and police fail to do so, you may very well see us in the near future,” Peach said.

VicPD officers at the legislature said there had been no confirmation that Soldiers of Odin planned to attend but noted police were aware of a social media post that had sparked concern among the group currently occupying the building.

Bowen Osoko, a spokesperson for VicPD, emphasized that officers have been in attendance during the entire occupation and that their goal is to keep everyone safe while they exercise their right to protest.


@devonscarlett
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devon.bidal@saanichnews.com

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Wet’wuwet’en supporters at the B.C. Legislature held a rally on Saturday morning in anticipation of a white supremacy group attending. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)

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