Kingston. Onatario. On the afternoon of Sunday November 21, about 100 people blocked the Lasalle Causeway in Kingston in solidarity with Wet’suwet’en land defenders and their supporters, following an RCMP raid on Thursday and multiple arrests.
Originally published by North Shore Info.
People met up at a nearby location, smudged and then walked onto the causeway. We held the bridge for about an hour for speeches, drumming and songs. We left as some cops were amassing, but before they had started trying seriously to remove us from the causeway.
Just a few thoughts on angry drivers, for anyone thinking about planning similar actions in the future:
Dealing with angry bystanders is a typical part of any disruptive action. One story in particular that we heard at least five times from angry drivers who got out of their cars to intimidate us was that they had a sick child to get home to. I hate to say it, but most of them are probably lying. They are grasping wildly for whatever they think will make you most likely to let them through. Or they are just mad and they are saying the thing they think will reveal you to be a total monster who wants to kill children or some other nonsense.
We tried to calmly but firmly reassure people that we weren’t going anywhere, it was going to be a long time, and they were welcome to wait but that if they truly were rushing home with a sick child it would be a lot faster to stop wasting their time yelling at us and just take a detour to the other bridge.
(We would *of course* let an ambulance through. Or a fire truck. But that one guy who’s screaming about how we are blocking emergency vehicles, with no ambulance in sight? No way.)
It can be hard to stand your ground in a situation where people are getting out of their cars and being aggressive, or acting like they are going to drive through the crowd. But letting individual cars through “because they have a good reason” can quickly create a chaotic and dangerous situation for everyone involved. It is difficult to coordinate with the people blocking traffic going the other way and it can make other drivers more impatient and more determined if they see that other people were able to talk their way through somehow. It is easier and safer to hold the entire roadway until folks are ready to leave. We’re thankful that the crowd held solid, even though for many in the crowd, this was their first time participating in direct action.