RCMP members gather at a Wet’suwet’en checkpoint after representatives from Coastal GasLink and contractors make their way through an exclusion zone at the 27 kilometre marker towards the Unist’ot’en camp to remove barriers on a bridge over the Morice River, southwest of Houston, B.C., on Jan. 11, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito

RCMP takes down exclusion zone on road to Unist’ot’en camp

The temporary exclusion zone on the Morice West Forest Service Road which blocked access to the media and public has been removed as of 3:15 p.m Friday, the RCMP said in a press release.

“Members of the public and media are now able to re-enter and travel on the road. The RCMP will continue their patrol of the corridor to ensure everyone’s safety,” read the release from District Advisory NCO Cpl. Madonna Saunderson.

The zone was set up earlier in the week southwest of Houston, British Columbia along the road leading to the Unist’ot’en camp farther south, where members of the Wet’suwet’en nation built a blockade barring access to LNG Canada pipeline workers.

In an earlier release today, the RCMP said it received reports from social media that a “Tripod structure” was put in the middle of the road and blocking access and that it had ceremonial significance.

The police force consulted and confirmed with the hereditary chief and Freda Huson that the structure was not ceremonial and that they wanted it be removed.

The incidents come hours after several work trucks passed through a police roadblock on their way to the Unist’ot’en camp to take down barriers that blocked workers from constructing a natural gas pipeline that runs through Wet’suwet’en territory.

READ MORE: Police and Indigenous blockades going up, work to begin again on B.C. pipeline

A deal was reached on Thursday between the RCMP and hereditary chiefs under which they agreed to follow the court injunction and not block access to the work site.

Fourteen people were arrested on Monday when the RCMP enforced the injunction and took down the Gitdumden checkpoint.

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