Nak'azdli Band members blockade commercial traffic outside Fort St. James, British Columbia, protesting resources, logs leaving town; leaders demand to speak to MPs

PRINCE GEORGE, British Columbia , January 12, 2012 () – Several members of the Nak'azdli Band have blockaded commercial traffic on Highway 27 just outside Fort St. James - approximately 150 km northwest of Prince George.

The blockade began at approximately 10 a.m. on Wednesday at the intersection of Highway 27 and Nak'azdli Road, North District RCMP spokesperson Cst. Leslie Smith said. Private vehicles, emergency vehicles, school buses and other, noncommercial, vehicles are being allowed through the blockade.

"At this stage we've spoken to the leader of the group. We're working on having a peaceful resolution," Smith said.

Leaders of the group demanded to speak to members of Parliament and have said they will not move until a court-ordered injunction requires them to, Smith said.

"We're working now to get that injunction," she said. "At this point everything is still peaceful, but we definitely have RCMP on site."

Fort St. James Mayor Rob MacDougall said the blockade has cut off the only highway access to the town of 1,355 people.

"It's disrupting our everyday life and what we're used to," MacDougall said. "We're already running low on fuel at the cardlock [gas station]. We're not getting supplies to the grocery store or drug store, which is concerning to me. It's causing some angst in the community."

MacDougall said the blockade is targeting the wrong people.

"We're all concerned with the resources leaving town. The majority of the product that is leaving is whole logs," he said. "[But] they're going about getting the message out in the wrong way. We're all one family here - all one community."

A spokesperson for the Nak'azdli Band said the band chief and council are not commenting on the issue.

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