RCMP investigating after truck driver goes through Wet’suwet’en supporters’ Manitoba blockade

RCMP are investigating after a truck driver refused to stop for a group of protesters — allegedly hitting at least one of the demonstrators — while they blocked Highway 75 near Morris, Man., Monday, police say.

A handful of protesters had set up along the highway, temporarily blocking southbound traffic to one lane. Demonstrators were briefly holding up semi-trailers before letting them on their way after handing over information about treaty rights.

One driver, captured on video by Global News, appeared to ignore two protesters standing on the road. The driver is seen attempting to drive around them in the right lane before two more protesters on the shoulder ran out in front of the truck.

The driver then turns back into the left lane in an attempt to avoid the blockade a second time.

Mike Hawkins said he was one of the protesters who attempted to stop the semi and was injured in the process.

“He decided just to run the blockade and try to run us over there because he was running straight for us and I stuck my hand out and my front arm, my hand caught the fender there and jarred my elbow and my shoulder there and that hurt,” Hawkins said.

Police said the semi that was involved was stopped by officers following the incident and information was taken from the driver before he was allowed to proceed.

Officers are also reviewing the video of the incident and will not speak about potential charges until the investigation is over, according to a Manitoba RCMP spokesperson.

The Monday protest was part of a Canada-wide movement aiming to shut down the country’s economy in the wake of RCMP enforcement of a court injunction against the Wet’suwet’en members blocking construction of the Coastal GasLink pipeline near Houston, B.C.

RCMP moved into the traditional, unceded Wet’suwet’en territory on Feb. 6.

The $6.6-billion Coastal GasLink project is meant to carry natural gas from northeastern B.C. to Kitimat.

The company has signed benefits agreements with all 20 elected Indigenous councils along the route.

But hereditary chiefs who oppose the project say elected councils only have jurisdiction over First Nations reserves. The hereditary chiefs claim authority over rights and title to land that was never covered by treaty.

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