Protesters gather in Victoria amid plans to shut down B.C. government buildings | CBC News

Protesters gather in Victoria amid plans to shut down B.C. government buildings | CBC News

Dozens of protesters rallied outside various government buildings in Victoria on Friday morning as an injunction barring people from blocking access, roadways and doors to the B.C. Legislature came into effect.

Supporters of the Wet'suwet'en hereditary chiefs who oppose the construction of the Coastal GasLink pipeline through their traditional territory in northern B.C. have pledged to disrupt government operations across the provincial capital. 

Gatherings witnessed by CBC reporters at four separate locations were low key, with protesters holding signs and banners while chanting, singing and waving at passing cars. 

Workers in the buildings appeared to be coming and going as normal. No protesters were seen at the legislature buildings.

WATCH| Wet'suwet'en supporters stage peaceful protests in Victoria.

Wet'suwet'en supporters rally outside B.C. government buildings in Victoria. 0:32

The legislature injunction order was granted Thursday in B.C. Supreme Court in response to an application from Speaker of the House Darryl Plecas.

It followed a demonstration earlier this week that saw dozens of people block the entrances to the legislature.

Wet'suwet'en supporters Katharine Christie and Brecham Bird share their message in Victoria. (Mike McArthur/CBC)

The order gives the officers who provide security at the legislature the power to arrest and remove anyone who is “interfering, disturbing or disrupting … [the legislature's] business … and proper functioning,” including on public roads. 

It also bars interference with closed-circuit television cameras.

Plan to shut down civil service

The injunction does not cover other government buildings in the Victoria area. 

Before the injunction was issued, activists said they would attempt to shut down the bulk of the provincial civil service for the day, but promised the protests would be peaceful.

Friday's protests were expected to end at noon PT.

In an email sent Wednesday to all B.C. public service employees, the premier's deputy minister, Don Wright, warned staff about the protests planned for Friday.

He said while protesters have the right to free speech, recent protests have extended beyond peaceful engagement.


Wet'suwet'en supporter Mira Dhillon was one of dozens of demonstrators who rallied outside government buildings in Victoria on Friday. (Mike McArthur/CBC)

“People who merely wanted to access their place of work and provide service to the public of British Columbia were subjected to physical and emotional intimidation, physical blocking of access, and in some instances, physical and emotional abuse,” Wright wrote. 

“I find this treatment of those serving the public to be reprehensible and unacceptable.”

Wright said the emotional and physical safety of all public servants is his top priority, and that no staff will be asked to put themselves in a situation where they don't feel safe.