Police exercising ‘discretion’ in response to week long rail blockade, cite public safety as main concern

A parked train remains on the bridge over the Napanee River as the blockade at Wyman Road continues into its second week. Photo by Adam Prudhomme.

Adam Prudhomme

OPP say they’re exercising ‘police discretion’ as they continue to monitor the rail tracks blockade currently taking place on Wyman Road in Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory.

The blockade, which began last week, has caused CN Rail and Via Rail to shut down major sections of their network.

“Via Rail has no other option but to cancel all of its services on the network, with the exception of Sudbury-White River (CP Rail) and Churchill-The Pas (Hudson Bay Railway), until further notice,” the passenger train company said in a media release on Thursday.

Despite a court injunction obtained by CN Rail over the weekend to end the protest, the blockade has remained in place throughout the week. The Mohawks have said they won’t end the demonstration until the RCMP leave the Wet’suwet’en territory in British Columbia. 

So far, the OPP have yet to make any arrests in relation to the Mohawk’s protest.

“The proper use of police discretion is a valid, appropriate approach to de-escalating situations such as this,” OPP east region media relations coordinator Bill Dickson said in a release. “The proper exercise of police discretion should not be confused with a lack of enforcement. The OPP calls on those involved to abide by the court injunction and to not put public peace or anyone’s safety in jeopardy. The OPP respects the right of everyone to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly, but we also recognize the rights of the general public, local residents and businesses to a safe environment. The OPP will continue to follow its framework for Police Preparedness for Indigenous Critical Incidents which provides guidance for a measured and sensitive response.”

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Friday called for “constructive dialogue” on the matter while Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer called for the prime minister to instruct the RCMP to intervene. 

error: Content is protected !!