Protesters block rail line near Dupont and Dufferin in support of Coastal GasLink pipeline opponents
A Toronto rally held in solidarity with Coastal GasLink pipeline protesters in B.C. on Saturday disrupted freight and passenger train services for several hours, and additional cancellations are expected Sunday.
Via Rail says several trains running between Toronto and Ottawa and between Toronto and Montreal will be cancelled Sunday morning. They include routes 40, 42, 45, 52, 53, 62, 63, 64, 65 and 643.
The Toronto demonstration was held at the Davenport Diamond, near Bartlett Avenue and Dupont Street, which is the intersection where CP Rail and GO train tracks meet.
On Saturday, Via Rail had cancelled all trains running between Toronto and Ottawa, as well as trains between Toronto and Montreal, following the third day of protests near Belleville, Ont. A total of 68 trains have been cancelled since Thursday night, the rail service says.
Friday and Saturday's cancellations affected 14,000 passengers, it said in a statement.
CP Rail also suspended trains along the route due to people walking on and around the tracks, Toronto police Const. Ed Parks told CBC Toronto.
GO trains along the Barrie line were suspended as a precaution, but were later deemed safe to move slowly through the area, Metrolinx spokesperson Anne Marie Aikins told CBC News.
Rally held in support of pipeline opponents
Protesters have said they're holding the "disruptive rally" in solidarity with members of the Tyendinaga Mohawk territory who are protesting the construction of a natural gas pipeline in Wet'suwet'en territory, B.C.
On Saturday afternoon, CN obtained a court injunction to end the Tyendinaga Mohawk rail demonstration. It remains unclear what those demonstrators plan to do next.
WATCH | We'tsuwet'en supporters block trains, delay traffic:
The $6-billion, 670-kilometre Coastal GasLink pipeline has been approved by the province, and 20 First Nations band councils signed agreements in support of it, including five of the six band councils in the Wet'suwet'en nation.
"Joining actions across Canada, supporters in Toronto are taking action to show that this invasion is unacceptable," organizers of the Toronto protest said in a news release.
Hundreds of people across B.C. also took to the streets on Saturday — one day after RCMP officers in Northern B.C. arrested 14 people at a fortified checkpoint blocking access for Coastal GasLink pipeline workers near Houston.
Protesters disbanded Saturday evening
Toronto police said earlier Saturday that they were speaking with organizers of the rally to come to an understanding.
"We are going to continue to talk with organizers to try to resolve this," Parks told CBC Toronto. Parks said the protest began with 19 people, but later grew.
By 6 p.m., police said the protestors had decided to disband.