Bridge at protest site damaged, tires spiked

A bridge leading to where the Coastal GasLink pipeline project is being greeted with opposition has been repaired after RCMP noticed it had been vandalized while rounding up protesters over the weekend.

RCMP said officers noticed on Friday the support beams had been cut and some bolts loosened on Lamprey Creek Bridge, making it unsafe to support any kind of traffic. By Saturday, repairs had been completed and made safe, and a criminal investigation launched, RCMP said.

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On Friday, the tires of several RCMP vehicles were punctured after they traveled past the police-controlled access point at the 27-km mark of the Morice Forest Service Road. In answer, RCMP said the access point was temporarily moved to the four km mark.

"Hereditary Chiefs, Industry and media will still have access to the 27 km mark," RCMP said. "Access will be restricted into the area along the Forest Service Road beyond 27 km as it is still within the exclusion zone and enforcement continues."

Also, a support protest at Kitwanga prevented commercial truckers from using Highway 37 on Friday and one remains in place blocking CN Rail's service to Prince Rupert.

RCMP said four people arrested Friday and four of those arrested on Saturday south of Houston were transported to the Smithers RCMP detachment for an appearance in court on Monday while six more remain in police custody in Houston.

To date, RCMP have arrested more than 20 people while enforcing an injunction against protestors blocking access to work sites for the Coastal GasLink pipeline. The $6.6 billion natural gas pipeline project is a key component of the $40 billion LNG Canada project.

All five elected band councils of the Wet’suwet’en support the project and have signed benefits agreements worth more than $300 million.

But there are 13 houses, and eight of the 13 hereditary chiefs are opposed to the project in their territory.

Members of a group called the Unist’ot’en - affiliated with Dark House - have set up camps south of Houston on the Morice West Forest Service Road to try to prevent Coastal GasLink from doing work on the natural gas pipeline.

In a running commentary on the group's Facebook page, the Unist'ot'en said shortly after 11 a.m. that Freda Huson, one the key leaders of the effort, was being arrested.

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