Ontario Provincial Police officers make arrests at a rail blockade in Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory, near Belleville, Ont., on Monday Feb. 24, 2020, as they protest in solidarity with Wet’suwet’en Nation hereditary chiefs attempting to halt construction of a natural gas pipeline on their traditional territories. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

New blockade suspends commuter rail service west of Toronto

Upwards of 30 people were on the tracks at one point and many remain there Tuesday morning

Thousands of commuters had their morning routines disrupted Tuesday after a blockade popped up on a popular rail line near Hamilton and halted passenger train service.

GO Train service in Hamilton and all points on the route to Niagara Falls, Ont., has been stopped since Monday evening, said Metrolinx spokeswoman Anne Marie Aikins.

Around 5:30 p.m. Monday more than a dozen people gathered on the tracks, which are owned at that point by CN Rail, at a juncture near Hamilton, she said.

“We’re standing by and waiting, there’s not much action we can take,” Aikins said.

Upwards of 30 people were on the tracks at one point and many remain there Tuesday morning, she said.

Hamilton police and CN Rail police are investigating, Aikins said.

A group called Wet’suwet’en Strong: Hamilton in Solidarity, have claimed responsibility for the blockade.

“It’s a new day, and we started it by burning the injunction delivered by CN rail!” the group wrote on Facebook.

“Remember why we’re out here; the violence the state has perpetrated towards Indigenous land defenders and their supporters, the forced removal and criminalization of Indigenous people from their lands.”

The new blockade comes just a day after police moved in on an encampment in Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory near Belleville, Ont.

Dozens of provincial police officers descended on the area Monday morning and arrested 10 demonstrators, who were charged and released with conditions. Police and CN removed the encampment and several vehicles that were parked next the tracks.

That encampment had been set up on Feb. 6.

Ontario Provincial Police said officers moved in Monday morning after efforts to negotiate a peaceful resolution were exhausted and demonstrators ignored a midnight deadline to clear the blockade, which has brought freight and passenger rail traffic in much of Eastern Canada to a virtual standstill.

Politicians hailed the police raid, but the use of force angered Indigenous leaders, community members and advocacy groups who had hoped for a peaceful resolution.

The protesters had set up the blockade in support of the hereditary chiefs of the Wet’suwet’en Nation, who oppose the development of a natural gas pipeline project that crosses their traditional territory in northwestern British Columbia.

CN issued a brief statement Monday saying the company was pleased the “illegal blockade” in Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory had come to an end, but offered no indication when service would resume.

Via Rail announced its route between Montreal and Halifax will resume service on Friday.

READ MORE: Anti-pipeline protesters blockade CN rail lines in Abbotsford

READ MORE: Indigenous leaders condemn police use of force to clear Ontario rail blockades

The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Coastal GasLinkIndigenous

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Teachers in Port Alberni show the love for their students

Virtual message meant to give families hope in uncertain times

Port Alberni’s Judy Plater works magic with a chainsaw

Bald eagle carving unveiled at Alberni Valley Golf Club

EDITORIAL: Port Alberni’s loud thanks well deserved

Stay at home, stay the course so we can beat coronavirus

ARTS AROUND: Rollin Art Centre looking for artists to exhibit in 2021

Gallery is currently closed due to COVID-19 concerns

Scotiabank helps hockey at home

Alberni Valley Minor Hockey Association’s annual donation helps peewee teams

‘We will get through this’: B.C. sees new COVID-19 death, but 57% have recovered

A total of 1,066 people have tested positive for the novel coronavirus

An ongoing updated list of Alberni Valley events affected by COVID-19

Has your event been cancelled or postponed? Check here

Couple celebrates 61st anniversary through Vancouver Island seniors’ home window

Frank and Rena Phillips marked occasion at Nanaimo Seniors Village this week while social distancing

A look at some of the B.C. inventors creating life-saving tools in fight against COVID-19

Groups across B.C. are working together to create what they hope will help people affected by the pandemic

Association launches French-language games, online tools for families learning at home

Games, culture and vocabulary included in new virtual resources

‘There can be no ambiguity’: Travellers brought home to B.C. must self-isolate

Health Minister Adrian Dix said the mandatory isolation must be abided by

Belle from ‘Beauty and the Beast’ entertains home-bound kids in Cowichan Bay

Alora Killam, 16, played the part in musical two years ago

55+ BC Games cancelled amid COVID-19 concerns

Greater Victoria set to host 2021 event

BC Hydro offers three-month bill ‘holiday’ for those affected by COVID-19

Industrial customers can defer half of their power bills

Most Read