Canadian Tire Fire #69: Direct Action Against NorthVolt, Solidarity with Palestine Roundup, and Renewed Forestry Blockades in Atikamekw Territory

From It’s Going Down

In this month’s column, we’ve got updates on a wide range of struggles. First, some headlines. Mining Injustice Solidarity Network held an demonstration to disrupt the annual Prospectors & Developers Association Conference (PDAC) in Toronto. The conference brings together mining industry actors from around the world. The protestors hoped to disrupt the event, sharing analysis that Canadian mining destroys, kills and colonizes across Turtle Island and around the world.

In legal updates from the last month, Tiny House Warriors continue to face down charges sustained during their ongoing fight against the Trans Mountain Pipeline.

In Montreal, hundreds marched as part of militant demonstrations against police brutality held annually.

Finally, rallies occurred outside the Smithers courthouse, where the BC crown asked for up to 3 months jail time for Likhts’amisyu Chief Dsta’hyl, for his actions against CGL pipeline, which crosses his territory.

And now, on to this month’s full stories!

Direct Action Continues Against Northvolt Battery

In the past month, multiple sabotage actions have taken place on the site planned to be developed for the Northvolt battery plant in Saint-Basile-le-Grand, Quebec.

A translation of one reportback reads:

Anarchists again attacked the capitalist machine of destruction at the Northvolt site. Steel spikes were placed on the various paths used by the machinery. In addition, new nails were put into trees, this time without identifying them, to maximize the potential for destruction on the ecocidal machinery. The people who did the action are not afraid of getting caught. Even if they did, they would ask to be judged by their peers. By the spiny softshell turtles, little bitterns and copper redhorses. By all the species that die because the destruction of the planet is profitable as hell. … It was a sad time to take action. At the Northvolt site, barely a few trees remain, including those that were identified as having been the target of spiking last time. This shows that direct action works. Indeed, these nails have probably done more for the protection of biodiversity than COP15, and the whole string of other COPs.

Another reportback reads:

To stop the destruction of natural habitats, activists have targeted the Michaudville group’s Mont-St-Hilaire quarry, which to date has been responsible for filling in over ten hectares of marshland essential to the survival of vulnerable species such as the least bittern, the spiny softshell turtle and the eastern red bat…At the beginning of the week, around a hundred studded devices were spread along the road leading to the quarry to target the trucks transporting the earth and gravel used for backfilling. Over the past few weeks, more than a hundred return trips have been made daily, with a truck passing every 3 minutes. Any action that disrupts traffic and obstructs the only access road to the quarry will cause financial losses and affect the profitability of the project. Every hour of work lost is a victory for Northvolt’s opponents.

Palestine Solidarity Blockades and Actions Continue

As of the beginning of March, the death toll in Gaza since October 7th has reached over 30,000 people. On February 23rd, a UN press release called for an immediate stop to any transfers of weapons or ammunition to Israel, stating that they would likely be used to violate international humanitarian law in Gaza. It explicitly named Canada as one of the countries participating in the support of Israel’s military, including through export licenses.

From February 26th-28th, actions in seven cities blockaded access to offices and manufacturers supplying and profiting off Israel’s military operations. The blockades called for an arms embargo on Israel, with organizers stating that until the government blocked the export of arms to Israel, community members would do it themselves. Over 100 protesters in Scarborough, ON, shut down the morning shift of TMM Technologies, a manufacturer that supplies circuit boards for fighter jets and targetted bomb systems. In Calgary, weapons manufacturer Raytheon had their plant blockaded. Protesters in Victoria shut down the offices of Lockheed Martin for the day.

The same day, in Kitchener-Waterloo, the entrance to machine gun manufacturer Colt Canada was blockaded. Other blockades included Safran Electronics in Peterborough, Thales in Quebec City, and Hikvision in Vancouver. Another round of blockades came on March 7th, when actions in St. John’s, Halifax, and Toronto shut down all three Kraken Robotics facilities in Canada, including headquarters, offices, and a manufacturing plant.

Other Actions

In Rimouski, a Starbucks was vandalized. An anonymous reportback stated, “Rimouski stands with Palestine and its people! Starbucks has blood on their hands! No to a multinational that supports genocide. No to a multinational that kills in our community. No to a multinational that ruins everything it touches. We don’t want a starbucks that finances Israel, here or there!”

On March 4th, around 400 pro-Palestine protesters shut down an event at the Art Gallery of Ontario in Toronto that was meant to host Justin Trudeau and Italian prime minister Giorgia Meloni. Rallies, marches, student walkouts, and other demonstrations have also continued at a regular rhythm across many Canadian cities.

Reactionary events and pushback

On March 4th in Montreal, protesters disrupted an event featuring three IDF soliders. The event was originally planned to be hosted at Concordia University, before it was cancelled and relocated due to student complaints. Protesters blocked off the entry to the venue, preventing many ticket-holders from attending, and blocked others inside, forcing police to escort attendees out of the building.

On March 3rd, Israeli real estate corporation Keller Williams held an event at a synagogue in Vaughan, ON, selling homes suspected of being located in the occupied West Bank. The event drew a pro-Palestine protest, as well as a counter-protest. One individual wielding a nail gun attacked pro-Palestinian protesters and was arrested on charges of assault, possession of a dangerous weapon, and mischief. Several similar events and protests have happened since in Toronto and Montreal.

Atikamekw Logging Blockade Resumes Near Wemotaci

The fight against logging in Nitaskinan re-escalated this past week. Since last year, various blockades have been held against loggers in Atikamekw territory, about four hours north of Montreal. This week, what has been described as a very tense situation occurred near Wemotaci.

Reports on social media indicate that around fifty loggers confronted Indigenous land defenders who were blocking access to the territory as the spring thaw begins. Members of the Atikamekw community had newly resumed a total blockade of forestry operations on Thursday morning in Haute-Mauricie. The blockade once again stops traffic at the level of kilometer 104 on route 25, as was the case several times in the past year.

A news report shared the following explanation for the renewed blockade from a press release shared by the Association of Guardians of the Nehirowisiw Aski territory: “Hereditary leaders raise their voices to stop the decline in biodiversity, to fight against climate disturbances and denounce the abuse of resources. A moratorium on the destruction of natural environments is necessary.”

A GoFundMe has been set up to support the land defenders facing down an injunction for their ongoing blockade.