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

Relief coming for City of Castlegar water and sewer bills

Due dates for utility bills pushed back to July.

FortisBC offers 90-day bill deferrals to customers impacted by COVID-19

Customers can apply for the relief program through the utility’s website

Regional District of Central Kootenay changes services due to COVID-19

Building inspections and GIS services are some of the services impacted

Frustrated MLA begs out of province visitors to stay home

Columbia River Revelstoke MLA Doug Clovechok doesn’t understand why people aren’t listening to good advice

Castlegar council split over COVID-19 relief

Due dates for utility bills pushed back to July.

COVID-19: 4 new deaths, 25 new cases but only in Vancouver Coastal, Fraser Health

A total of 1,291 people have tested positive for the novel coronavirus

B.C. secures motel, hotel rooms for COVID-19 shelter space

Community centres, rooms reserved for pandemic self-isolation

Sanders drops 2020 bid, leaving Biden as likely nominee

Sanders plans to talk to his supporters later Wednesday

B.C. faith leaders, Horgan discuss need for virtual religious ceremonies

Leaders were open to providing other ways to celebrate during the pandemic

Emergency COVID-19 funding now available for children with special needs

Funding to be used to help support families through uncertain times of pandemic

Revenue dip needed to qualify for wage subsidy drops to 15% in March: Trudeau

Wage subsidy would over 75% of each employee’s salary for qualifying businesses

B.C. closes all provincial parks for COVID-19 protection

Easter weekend approaches, camping already closed

Air Canada says it will apply for wage subsidy to rehire workers after cutting 16,500 jobs

Air Canada said March revenues fell by more than 30 per cent year over year

Most Read