Service resumed on delayed GO trains Wednesday morning after Toronto police forcefully removed nearly 30 people who were rallying in solidarity with Wet’suwet’en overnight.
Police tweeted that after providing demonstrators with an injunction and encouraging peaceful departure, they began moving people from the tracks near Lambton Arena off Jane and Dundas West streets.
Police said most protesters were co-operative but arrests were made when necessary. An update on the number of arrests made and charges laid are to be provided later this morning.
Metrolinx said the police investigation along the tracks between Aldershot GO and Hamilton GO has cleared and they anticipate that it will be operating regular train service from Niagara Falls, St. Catharines, Hamilton and West Harbour GO stations this morning.
The transit agency also anticipates running regular services on the Milton line but noted that it will depend on “circumstances that are out of their control” and that in the event that an alternate route is taken, passengers should plan ahead to avoid delays.
Anne Marie Aikins, spokesperson for Metrolinx said they’re currently waiting for an “OK” from CP, as the Milton line runs through it.
“We are determined to operate Milton service. We just might have to operate a bypass which takes longer,” said Aikins. “Every other line is going to operate for now — that is our plan — but it is a very fluid situation unfortunately.”
The number of people gathered at Lambton Arena dwindled throughout the evening and into early Wednesday. Toronto police cleared the rail path at about 3 a.m., carrying some 30 people off the tracks one by one.
Another 30 protesters on the opposite side of a fence blocking off the tracks chanted “shame” and “solidarity” as police formed a human chain paving the way between the protesters on the track and a couple of court services vehicles waiting nearby.
Several people carried off the path were allowed to walk free, though some were taken into custody. It’s unclear how many people were arrested over the course of the 11-hour protest and how many face charges.
“This is colonization as usual,” one protester, named Lil Bear, told the Star. “Same thing we’ve been enduring for hundreds of years. It’s despicable.”
He said the arrests wouldn’t deter protesters from creating more blockades moving forwards. “This is for our future. For the future of our planet.”
“We knew these arrests were coming from the very beginning,” said Koryn John, who was carried out of the rail path by three officers. “This is what inevitably happens when we protest, but that isn’t going stop us. The blockades will continue until Indigenous land is recognized and respected.”
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A heavy police presence remained on the tracks for at least another hour as officers cleared personal belongings left behind by protestors and extinguished small bonfires.
On Tuesday, rail lines in Toronto and the GTA came to a temporary halt as blockades were set up during the afternoon and evening commute stopping GO Train service and regular rail traffic. Union Station in Toronto was jammed with frustrated commuters.
Metrolinx warned of disruptions “throughout our entire system.” Regular service resumed in the early evening but not before thousands of passengers were delayed.
With files from Gilbert Ngabo and Ben Spurr.