Trains along the Belleville-Kingston corridor came to a standstill as a demonstration is being staged on the CN Rail in the late afternoon of Thursday, Feb. 6, 2020.
Via Rail confirmed that trains stopped moving in both Kingston and Belleville due to the demonstration, and posts on social media state the protest is in solidarity with Wet’suwet’en as the RCMP has moved in on the anti-pipeline camp at Wet’suwet’en territory in B.C. and arrests have been made. The demonstration is taking place on the train tracks at Wyman Road, which is near Shannonville between Kingston and Belleville.
While the OPP could not confirm that trains have been stopped as the situation is unfolding, officers with the Lennox and Addington Detachment of the OPP said they are currently looking into the situation and will provide updates shortly.
Via rail has responded to travellers on the train question why their trains have stopped indicating it is due to the deomonstration.
“Trains stopped at Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory in solidarity with Wet’suwet’en,” Kanenhariyo Seth LeFort said on Facebook, along with the hastag #rcmpgetout and the photo below.
Demonstrators on the scene at Wyman Road indicated they will be letting one or two trains through every now and then as the protest continues, however, after making that agreement with the rail authorities, it was clear that CN and Via Rail had made a concerted effort to place trains back to back, as four trains moved through the demonstration, firing up the angers of those in attendance.
Those with Via Rail indicated they believed the trains would all be moving again within an hour and a half, however, it is unknown when the protest will end.
“The call was put out this morning saying ‘Rise!’ because of the things that are continuing to go on in Wet’suwet’en,” said a protestor at the train tracks who requested to remain anonymous.
“We can’t sit by and watch what they’re doing and do nothing. It’s genocide. The Canadian people need to be ashamed and not allow it. This country was born in genocide,” he said.
At 4:05 p.m., Via Rail responded to Kingstonist’s requests for information with the following:
“Since 2:30 p.m. protests had been blocking tracks at Marysville, impacting six VIA Rail trains,” said Karl-Philip Marchand Giguere, media advisor for VIA Rail. “Tracks are now clear of protesters and have been inspected and trains are now back on the move.”
“CN crews and CN police responded to information regarding a protest near CN tracks between Shannonville and Desoronto. Train movements were temporarily stopped as a precautionary measure but have since resumed,” agreed Alexandre Boulé, Senior Advisor with Media Relations and Public Affairs for CN.
However, those on the ground, angered by the number of trains that had been pushed through the demonstration, indicated their actions were far from over.
Kingstonist will continue to monitor this situation and update this article as more information becomes available.