Aamjiwnaang CN Rail Blockade facing eviction tonight at 6pm.
For the past thirteen days, the trains have not been rolling in Canada’s Chemical Valley, the infamous collection of petro-chemical plants concentrated around Sarnia, ON. That’s because native youth and grassroots community members from the Aamjiwnaang First Nation have been blockading the CN Rail line there in solidarity with Chief Theresa Spence and Idle No More.
Now tonight, the blockade may end, for now. In a court hearing earlier today, Aawmjiwnaang citizens and the Sarnia Chief of Police were issued contempt of court charges as result of a failure to enforce an injunction order from December 21 to remove the blockade.
According to Vanessa Grey, one of the youth organizers with the blockade, the difference with the court hearing today is that now the OPP have been instructed to carry out the injunction order, which local police had been unwilling to do.
“I guess in a way there was some solidarity in the court room today. We wouldn’t have been here this long if the local police had talked to the OPP, but they didn’t they chose not to. They didn’t think there was a need for it. So now tonight OPP are going to come in. And that’s court instructed too.”
In response, the decision of the community has been to hold a feast at 6pm and voluntarily relocate the camp off the railway line, thus effectively ending the blockade, for now.
The group issued the following statement at 4pm EST today: “The Ontario Provincial Court has mandated that the ongoing blockade of CN Railway be dismantled at 6 pm tonight. We are calling on community members and allies to come celebrate our collective victory at 6 pm tonight at the blockade. Ceremony will be held, plan B is in effect and there will be lots of food to share. Please post and share. Miigwetch. #idlenomore”
As for what the community will do next, a decision is yet to be made.
“There’s a lot going on right now in Sarnia,” relates Grey. “They just found the dead body of a woman close by and so it’s all very chaotic trying to get news out right now. We’re waiting to til we meet together later in the new location and that’s where we’ll going to make our decisions about we’ll do next.”
Even though, the blockade is being voluntarily relocated, a spokesperson for the group, Ron Plain will need to return to court on Friday in relation to the contempt charges. Also, planning continues for a rally on Saturday, January 5 in Sarnia.