Pipeline protests disrupt Ontario Via Rail service for 6th day in a row

Via Rail says its passenger rail service between Montreal and Toronto and between Ottawa and Toronto is cancelled on Tuesday, marking the sixth consecutive day of service disruption since protesters began blocking a rail line near Belleville, Ont.

On its website, the company said none of its trains will operate until a blockade at a level rail crossing in Tyendinaga Township is resolved. A small group of protesters have blocked the rail line in support of the Wet’suwet’en Nation, whose members are protesting the Coastal GasLink pipeline project in northern British Columbia.

In an email to Global News on Tuesday morning, a Via Rail spokesperson said that as of 8 a.m., 157 trains had been cancelled since the beginning of the blockade on Thursday night, impacting at least 24,500 passengers.

Similar rail line blockades are taking place in Montreal and New Hazelton, B.C.

The protests are in response to an injunction the RCMP has received to remove demonstrators from a blockade at the pipeline construction site on Wet’suwet’en territory in B.C. So far, 21 people have been arrested.

The OPP said Monday that they are in contact with demonstrators in Tyendinaga and that CN Rail police, who have jurisdiction over the rail lines, have received an injunction to remove protesters from there as well.

A video on social media appears to show protesters in Tyendinaga burning the injunction.

In an email to Global News on Tuesday morning, the OPP said CN Rail police and the courts are responsible for handling the injunction. Communications officer Bill Dickson said OPP are aware of the video but “cannot speculate on any charges.”

“Our provincial liaison team continues to talk with participants in an effort to resolve the situation in a safe and peaceful manner,” he said.

VIDEO: Protesters remain at the blockade in Tyendinaga

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Via Rail says its services continue to operate between Ottawa and Montreal, between Montreal and Quebec City and west of Toronto in southwestern Ontario. The company says customers will receive refunds for the service disruption.

More to come.


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