Motorists breathed a sigh of relief as a blockade on Route 117 between Val d’Or and Grand Remous was removed without incident.
About 50 protestors, led by Confederation of Aboriginal Peoples leader Guillaume Carle, claimed they were asserting their Aboriginal rights and bringing to light the plight of off-reserve Natives and the harvesting of wood locally by Algonquin bands.
The Assembly of First Nations and the regional Assembly of First Nations of Quebec and Labrador denounced the move, however.
“The rights of Aboriginal people are a very serious matter and they should not be used lightly or by the whim of any new group,” AFNQL Chief Ghislain Picard said about the Confederation of Aboriginal Peoples.
Grand Chief Lucien Wabanonik of the Anishinabeg Nation said “Guillaume Carle cannot speak on behalf of Anishinabeg Nations.”
He added, “Confrontational threats and civil unrest are not methods we wish to use to ensure community development. Our communities have always favoured a ‘negotiation of cooperation’ with both levels of government.”
Aboriginal leaders denounced the blockade that saw guns and the Mohawk Warrior flag being brandished about, despite the fact that the Mohawk Warrior Society was not present and did not condone the actions of those present at the blockade.