By Associated Press - Tuesday, February 25, 2020

HAMILTON, Ontario (AP) - Protesters erected new rail blockades Tuesday as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government said it was working to calm tensions with a British Columbia First Nation at the heart of demonstrations disrupting train traffic across Canada.

A day after police dismantled a major railway blockade near Belleville, Ontario, new ones surfaced in both Quebec and Ontario.

The largest emerged in Hamilton along a heavily traveled commuter rail line. The disruption along what the Go Transit passenger rail service describes as its busiest route left thousands of passengers scrambling to make alternative travel plans and caused numerous delays and cancellations.

Hamilton police said they had no plans to move in on the small group of demonstrators camped out on the tracks near a Canadian National Railway Co. depot.

Demonstrators have set up blockades in British Columbia, Ontario and Quebec in solidarity with opponents of the Coastal GasLink pipeline project that crosses the traditional territory of the Wet’suwet’en First Nation in northwestern British Columbia.

Hereditary chiefs of the Wet’suwet’en Nation oppose the work on their traditional territory, despite support from its elected council.

Constable Jerome Stewart said CN Rail served demonstrators a court injunction Monday night ordering them to leave the area and police are monitoring the situation.

GO Train passenger rail service in Hamilton and all points on the route to Niagara Falls, Ontario, had been halted since Monday evening, Metrolinx spokeswoman Anne Marie Aikins said. Shuttle buses were running to help commuters, she said.

Tom Nederpel cancelled plans to take trip into Toronto on Tuesday afternoon when he heard of the blockade, fearing he wouldn’t be able to get a train home to Dundas, Ontario, in the night.

“They’re completely out of order,” he said of the protesters. “They’re blocking railways that don’t belong to them. They’re blocking national railways, and businesses and commuters.”

Mark Miller, the federal indigenous services minister, said the government hoped to hear from the hereditary chiefs by Wednesday. He said Canada is committed to peacefully resolving the situation that has hampered freight and passenger travel in much of the country for nearly three weeks.

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