Two Canadian journalists were among 15 people arrested by RCMP, while they were covering land defenders in the Haisla and Tsleil-Waututh Nation.
The two journalists – Terri Theodore, a news producer with CTV in Vancouver, and Renata D’Aliesio, a freelance reporter who hails from Spokane, Washington – are from the region where they were arrested, where police had gone to evict remaining residents from a protest site in the community of Wet’suwet’en in British Columbia.
As journalists, both journalists say they had permission to cover the event.
The two journalists were arrested along with the other fourteen on suspicion of obstruction of justice and possession of a weapon in a public place.
According to media reports, RCMP charged each journalist with possession of a fire hose – something that could be viewed as a weapon – in addition to possessing a shield.
“Coyotes? The officers are out here chasing us. They’re actually in our truck, they’re harassing us, they’re watching us,” D’Aliesio said in a 911 call released by police.
“They should know how to keep peace in an area where they don’t live. They’re not paid to be here, and, yes, they are in my car. This is what they deal with. They are out here chasing us. I was almost hit.”
Police responded to the call and were arresting people and asking them to leave the area, but protesters began chanting “All lives matter.”
Police issued a media ban that left reporters unable to cover a protest some two kilometres outside a site in the community where people are holding off eviction. CNN is not reporting out of respect for the ongoing security situation.
Eyewitness Nathan Carr, the news director for the Innu News which has been covering the Wet’suwet’en protest for the past three weeks, says police “just turned around and walked away as they always do. They were very casual about it.”
A statement released on Wednesday afternoon by Global News, which has partnered with Global TV to produce a Canada-wide series on indigenous peoples, says the two reporters had obtained “authorized permission to do a news interview with a protester and a chief of the indigenous community.”