RCMP arrest journalists, matriarchs and land defenders following Gidimt’en eviction of Coastal GasLink

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By Matt Simmons, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

RCMP arrested two journalists, including photojournalist Amber Bracken, on assignment for The Narwhal, during police enforcement of a Coastal GasLink injunction in northwest B.C. Friday.
The arrests of Bracken and Michael Toledano have prompted widespread condemnation from media rights organizations, with the Committee to Protect Journalists and the Canadian Association of Journalists both calling for their immediate release.
“The RCMP, for whatever reason, continues to act with impunity and they are continually working to subvert law and best practice and that can’t be tolerated,” said Canadian Association of Journalists president Brent Jolly, pointing to RCMP limits on press freedoms at Fairy Creek logging blockades earlier this year.
Prior to Bracken’s arrest, RCMP told The Narwhal they were aware journalists were at the site and said they conveyed the information to the officers before units advanced.
“As long as she is clear with the members on the ground there shouldn’t be any issues. I will pass along the information to the officers out there,” Staff Sergeant Janelle Shoihet wrote in an email Friday morning.
Tactical units advanced on the occupation of the pipeline drill site near the Wedzin Kwa (Morice) River on Friday morning, and in the early afternoon Sleydo’ Molly Wickham, a wing chief in Cas Yikh house of the Gidimt’en clan, was arrested, along with Jocey Alec, daughter of Hereditary Dinï ze’ (Chief) Woos, and 13 others, including Bracken and Toledano.
The arrests were made with the use of canine units and snipers. RCMP broke down the door to a tiny home with an axe to remove Wickham, Bracken and others, while officers used a chainsaw to extract Alec from a cabin on the drill site. Dinï ze’ (Chief) Woos was prevented from accessing his...continued.

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