The RCMP were prepared to use snipers with shoot-to-kill orders when they launched a raid to remove Indigenous protesters slowing pipeline construction in Wet’suwet’en territory, the Guardian reported today.
The exclusive report by Jaskiran Dhillon and Will Parrish reveals RCMP planning notes included arguments that “lethal overwatch is req’d,” a term for deploying snipers.
The Guardian reports RCMP commanders instructed officers to “use as much violence toward the gate as you want” as they planned the Jan. 7 action to remove a gated checkpoint and camp about 120 kilometres southwest of Smithers.
The RCMP sent heavily armed officers in military-style fatigues to break down a gate, arrest 14 people and enforce a “temporary exclusion zone” that barred anyone aside from police from the area. The police were enforcing an injunction obtained by Coastal GasLink, the company building a pipeline to take natural gas to a planned LNG project in Kitimat.
The Guardian reports RCMP documents note arrests would be necessary for “sterilizing the site.” Plans included arresting everyone in the injunction area, including children and elders.
They also show the RCMP conducted surveillance in advance of the raid including heavily armed police patrols, drones, heat-sensing cameras and monitoring of protesters social media postings.
And the report reveals the RCMP and pipeline company officials worked closely together on strategy.
Need to know more?
The Tyee has covered the blockade and the police and corporate response extensively.
The day after the raid, Zoë Ducklow provided a primer on the protest, the pipeline and the Wet’suwet’en use of the land.
Ducklow also prepared this report offering the views of Chief Judy Wilson, secretary treasurer of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs and a community leader.
Judith Sayers, a lawyer and former chief of the Hupacasath First Nation, wrote about why the Indigenous people at the blockade, not the RCMP, had the law on their side.
Amanda Follett Hosgood reported on Wet’suwet’en hereditary Chief Na’Moks’ speech to the United Nations after the police raid.
Follet Hosgood also reported on complaints by Indigenous leaders and families that police were doing little to investigate missing women cases while devoting a large amount of resources to protecting pipeline companies.
Andrew Nikiforuk set out Canada’s history of using militarized police to monitor and shut down attempts to asset Indigenous rights.
Read more: Indigenous, Rights + Justice
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