ALEX LAW/THE VARSITY

Over 150 student activists blocked off a segment of St. George street during the afternoon of March 4 as part of a national student walkout in solidarity with the Wet’suwet’en land defenders. The segment of St. George street from Harbord Street to Wilcocks Street was blocked off by Campus Police during the walkout, which lasted from approximately 12:00–3:30 pm.

The Wet’suwet’en land defenders and their supporters have engaged in rail blockades since December in an attempt to stop a Coastal GasLink pipeline that was proposed on unceded Wet’suwet’en territory. These protests are only the most recent actions that have taken place as part of a decade-long movement against the pipeline.

Protests in recent months were in response to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police’s raids in Wet’suwet’en territory.

Land defenders involved in solidarity demonstrations in Toronto have been forcibly removed by police.

On March 1, an agreement was proposed between the Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs and British Columbia officials.

ALEX LAW/THE VARSITY

Students across Canada participated in the walkout, including students at the University of Victoria and University of British Columbia, as well as in the days-long protests outside of the British Columbia Legislature. The walkout at U of T was organized by Leap UofT, Climate Justice Toronto, and the Ontario Public Interest Research Group.

The protestors were highly critical of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, chanting “two-faced Trudeau” in response to what they saw as hypocrisy from the Prime Minister in regard his perceived lack of action regarding the pipeline despite his public support for reconciliation with Indigenous peoples.

“I’m not protesting, I’m actually land defending,” said third-year U of T student Sam Wong, who is of Métis-Cree heritage, and has been involved in other demonstrations for Indigenous land sovereignty.

On the government’s attempt to interfere in Wet’suwet’en land, Wong said, “We’re holding the government accountable, and saying that us, as a collective, at U of T here today, are not okay with that decision.”

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