The demonstration also shut down the intersection of Kootenay and Baker Streets. Photo: Tyler Harper

UPDATE Feb. 18: Nelson’s Bank of Montreal branch re-opens after pipeline sit-in

Wet’suwet’en supporters left the bank over the weekend

The Bank of Montreal in Nelson opened Tuesday after being closed since Thursday because of an occupation by activists demanding the bank divest itself from financially supporting the Coastal GasLink LNG pipeline.

The sit-in began on Wednesday and continued inside the bank 24 hours per day into the weekend.

On the first day, participants crowded the lobby, wrapped themselves around a post and denounced the $6.6-billion pipeline, which is being partially built on Wet’suwet’en territory in the face of opposition from hereditary chiefs.

“If it can happen on one territory it’s going to happen time and time again,” said demonstrator Anne Marie Child.

“This is the people uprising and we’re showing our support and solidarity with the Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs, the Wet’suwet’en people and Indigenous youth.”

On Thursday and Friday, a security guard stood inside the entrance, not letting anyone enter. If any of the small group of occupiers sitting in a circle on the floor in the bank lobby left to get food or use the bathroom, he said, they wouldn’t be let back in.

About 20 others gathered with signs on the sidewalk outside.

The demonstration also shut down the intersection of Kootenay and Baker Streets on Feb. 12, although that had cleared by the next day. Officers from the Nelson Police Department were on hand, but said they wouldn’t remove activists from the bank.

A report last month by the environmental activist organization Rainforest Action Network cited a $4.3-billion loan by BMO to TransCanada Pipelines as part of the pipeline project, which will carry natural gas 670 kilometres from Dawson Creek, B.C. to an LNG facility near Kitimat.

Scotiabank, CIBC, Toronto Dominion and Royal Bank of Canada were also said to be supporting the project in various ways.

BMO management declined to comment on the end of the occupation. Participants in the demonstration could also not be reached for comment.

“Although our officers were involved with this dispute from the beginning and assisted when needed,” said Nelson police chief Paul Burkart, “it was the representatives from both BMO and the protestor group that allowed this to come to a peaceful conclusion when it did without police intervention.”

Related:

Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs take Canada’s environmental assessment system to court

VIDEO: John Horgan denounces B.C. legislature anti-pipeline siege

B.C. touts Indigenous reconciliation in protest-delayed throne speech

• Wet’suwet’en and B.C. government have been talking Aboriginal title for a year

• Trudeau tightlipped on plan to end protests ‘quickly and peacefully’

• Federal emergency group meets on pipeline protests as rail blockades continue

Coastal GasLinkprotest

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

The activists encouraged bank customers to take their money elsewhere. Photo: Tyler Harper

Local activists stage a sit in at Nelson’s Bank of Montreal branch Wednesday. The demonstration was meant to shed light on BMO’s financial stake in the Coastal GasLink pipeline. Photo: Tyler Harper

Just Posted

Pay guarantee removed for some Kootenay on-call paramedics

Guarantee phased out as BCEHS introduces a new “scheduled on call” model

No active confirmed COVID-19 cases in Interior Health: BCCDC

Numbers from the BCCDC’s dashboard show 193 of the 195 COVID-19 cases in the region have recovered

RDEK urges residents to be prepared for emergencies including flooding, wildfire

The East Kootenay region has been placed on a high streamflow advisory

Hosmer Fire Department sends thank you to anonymous gift donor

A handmade wooden plaque was left in front of the Hosmer firehall on May 28

Castle Project seeking public input

The comment period surrounding the expansion closes on June 23

March dental conference key to many of B.C.’s COVID-19 cases

Early infections from China, Iran were quickly contained

Regional District of Kootenay Boundary rescinds all Grand Forks-area evacuation orders

Evacuation alerts for 1,136 Boundary properties remain in effect as officials monitor forecasts

MAP: Dr. Henry reveals which B.C. regions have seen most COVID-19 cases

B.C. health officials release a first look at how the novel coronavirus has reached all corners of the province

Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation woman, 26, fatally shot by police in Edmundston, N.B.

Police were conducting a well-being check at the time of the incident

Introducing the West Coast Traveller: A voyage of the mind

Top armchair travel content for Alaska, Yukon, BC, Alberta, Washington, Oregon and California!

Seniors to receive up to $500 in promised COVID-19 emergency aid in early July

The Liberal government first promised the extra help in mid-May, but had to create a new system to deliver the aid

VIDEO: Revelstoke bear wanders into Animal House pet store

Staff got ready to chase it out with a broom

Nelson counsellor works online with university students in central Asia during pandemic

Robin Higgins is home from her job in Tajikistan because of COVID-19

New study is first full list of species that only exist in Canada

Almost 40 per cent of them are critically imperilled or imperilled and eight are already extinct

Most Read