Trans Mountain pipeline protesters kicked off a march on Saturday Morning in downtown Victoria.
Organized by a group called Rise and Resist, the Still No Consent! No Trans Mountain! 20 kilometre march began in Centennial Square. The protesters began to gather at 8 a.m. while marshalls met to prepare for the day.
The march will include a 7 kilometre stretch of highway as the group makes their way to the end of their route at Island View Beach in Tsawout First Nation territory at 5 p.m.
A blessing, speeches, songs and drumming all helped get the protesters of all ages in the mood to march. Many were planning on walking the entire route, but others brought their bikes.
“We will walk-upy [sic] seven kilometres of Highway 17 to send a direct message to Trudeau that there is resistance from coast to coast in so-called Canada,” an announcer said to the cheering group.
Another speaker encouraged the protesters to raise their fists high in the air.
“When you come together, you become unstoppable. It’s beautiful to see you all here today as one human family, building a bridge for the children. The children are doing it themselves too,” they said, referencing the work of young activists such as Greta Thunberg from Sweden.
The speaker compares the pipeline’s harm to the earth with injecting one’s mother with bitumen and then trying to cure her with medicinal herbs. They spoke of the importance of listening to the knowledge of Indigenous matriarchs. They then invited one of the matriarchs in attendance to speak.
“The little babies will suffer if we don’t do something,” she said. “I get really emotional. The earth is part of me and I am part of the earth…. It’s time for us to walk together and love this earth.”
Gregg McElroy from the Canadian Orca Rescue Society was one of the people carrying an inflatable orca. The organization brings the inflatables to many local events, he explained.
“Let’s work together,” said McElroy. “One voice can’t be heard in the wilderness, but a million voices can be heard across this nation.”
The march will end with a free community feast at Island View Beach at 6 p.m.