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VIDEO: Protesters set up beside Vernon highway

North Okanagan-Shuswap MP responds to countrywide blockades
A protest is taking place on L&A Crossings Road and Highway 97. (Google Maps)

Several protesters set up alongside a busy Vernon highway Thursday.

Stationed along Highway 97 near L&A Cross Road, a handful of protesters stood in solidarity with the Wet’suwet’en blockade of the Coastal Gas Link pipeline project.

They have come from Kelowna, Okanagan Indian Band, Splatsin, Chase, Penticton and Enderby.

“The only place where you’re going to find some near to extinct creatures is on reserve lands,” protest organizer Mariel Belanger said. “And Justin Trudeau wants to put pipelines through that? It’s nonsense.”

The Coastal Gas Link pipeline is just one of many industrial projects on reserve lands Belanger opposes. She says the over-industrialization of these lands is a problem that exists right here in the Okanagan.

“If you notice, we’re surrounded by industry and this is reserve land,” Belanger said. “That’s why I’m standing here today. Because we need industrial reform.”

Belanger said OKIB and Splatsin were not endorsing the protest.

RCMP vehicles were on scene preventing a possible blockade.

The demonstration did not affect traffic.

A blockade was established earlier Thursday near Salmon Arm. Protesters obstructed the CP Rail tracks west of Chase.

North Okanagan-Shuswap Member of Parliament Mel Arnold released a video statement stating he will maintain his advocacy for workers who rely on the natural resource and transportation sectors.

“We’re going to keep up the good fight and make sure Canada’s economy keeps on rolling,” he said in the video.

READ MORE: BREAKING: Protesters set up blockade on CP Rail tracks near Salmon Arm

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Protesters have set up alongside Highway 97 near L&A Cross Road Feb. 20 in solidarity with the Wet’suwet’en blockade of the Coastal Gas Link pipeline project. (Brendan Shykora - Vernon Morning Star)