Community members occupy Williams Lake band office: RCMP on scene
At least four members of the Williams Lake Indian Band have forced their way into the band administration office Tuesday morning and asked staff to leave.— image credit: Angie Mindus photo
by Angie Mindus, Williams Lake Tribune, May 24, 2016 at 10:00 AM
RCMP are on scene at the Williams Lake Indian Band administration office where at least four men forcibly entered the building just after 8 a.m. Tuesday morning and asked staff to leave.
It is unclear at this early stage what the group wants, however it is suspected their motive is political. Text messages from the group relayed to the Tribune indicate the men are unarmed, however that has not been confirmed.
As many as a dozen officers are surrounding the building with high powered weapons, while concerned band staff are gathered at the community’s resource building next door.
Some of the men inside have been identified as band members Edward Razor (Thomas), Arny Jack, Darcy Colbalt and one other unidentified man.
Chief Anne Louie is not in the community today (May 24).
Acting Chief Heather Mackenzie said council will be releasing a statement on the situation as soon as possible.
Chief and council have been dealing with an increasingly active handful of community protesters in recent months, including in February when the treaty referendum vote was halted at Sugar Cane due to aggressive demonstrators who smashed a ballot box inside the Elizabeth Grouse Gymnasium.
Darcy Cobalt was arrested in relation to that incident.
In April during a re-vote the community voted in support of the chief and council to continue moving forward with the treaty process.
April Thomas, who has been an outspoken critic of the chief and council, drove between the police-surrounded administration office and resource building Tuesday morning raising her fist in the air in a show of triumph towards staff.
Some members on scene said prior to the take over, the suspects were going door-to-door trying to gain support for their latest protest.