UPDATE 3-Trudeau demands rail blockades be lifted, says Canadians' patience running outReuters | Ottawa | Updated: 22-02-2020 03:37 IST | Created: 22-02-2020 02:38 IST
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Friday demanded aboriginal protesters lift rail blockades that are hurting the economy and made clear police should, if necessary, enforce injunctions to remove the obstacles. Trudeau also told a news conference that the Liberal government's talks with various indigenous leaders over the last two weeks had not been productive and would be broken off.
"The situation as it currently stands is unacceptable and untenable ... the barricades need to come down now," he said in remarks that represented a notable hardening in his tone. "Canadians who are feeling the very real impact of these blockades are running out of patience."
Protesters have blocked lines in Ontario, Quebec and Alberta in solidarity with a British Columbia aboriginal band seeking to stop the construction of a gas pipeline over its land. Most of the economic damage stems from a blockade of a crucial Canadian National Railway Co line near Belleville in eastern Canada.
CN Rail obtained a court injunction against the protesters on Feb. 7 but the Ontario Provincial Police has so far declined to act, citing the complexity of the situation. "The injunctions must be obeyed and the barriers must come down," said Trudeau. "The intervention in the case of the (Belleville) blockade is the responsibility of the Ontario Provincial Police."
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