The Bank of Montreal in Nelson has been occupied with as many as 13 protesters since 11:30 am on February 12, 2020.
They stand in solidarity with the Hereditary Chiefs of the Wet’suwet’en First Nation and their ongoing fight against the Coastal GasLink pipeline that would run though their territory.
One of the protesters named Kiala was able to reach out to MyNelsonnow.com, but she needed a friend to hold up her phone as her hands were physically linked to her fellow comrades. By then it had been more than a day since she entered BMO.
“I’m as comfortable as you can be after you’re in the same position for 27 hours,” said Kiala. “We slept on mats last night (February 12,2020) while we were all still connected.”
Provisions like water, food and mats to sleep on have been provided by supporters outside the bank. But as of 6:30 pm on February 13, 2020, organizers of the protest said resource transfer privileges had been revoked.
Kiala and her fellow protesters said they will not leave until certain demands are met.
“What we are coming in with here are the demands that have been put out by the Wet’suwet’en Hereditary Chiefs as well as the indigenous youth who are acting in solidarity. What they’re asking for is that (Coastal Gas Link) cease all construction on Wet’suwet’en territory,” said Kiala. “We’re staying here and refusing to leave until BMO divests their financial support from Coastal Gas Link and that the RCMP are removed from Wet’suwet’en territory. Basically, we’re refusing to leave unless we’re forcibly removed.”
Acts like these have been witnessed across the nation as CN Rail is currently dealing with a blockade, and the busy intersection of Cambie St. and Broadway Ave. was closed off in Vancouver on February 12, 2020. This follows the call from Wet’suwet’en protesters to #SHUTDOWNCANADA.