Canadian National Railway has launched a lawsuit against Mohawk protesters who blocked a major Ontario rail corridor for 30 hours last month, disrupting freight and passenger traffic.
The land dispute protest near Deseronto that began in the early hours of April 20 delayed transports of freight worth $ 100 million between Toronto and Montreal, according to spokesman Mark Hallman.
CN confirmed that it is the first time they have launched a lawsuit stemming from a disruption of service related to First Nations land claims.
CN estimated that approximately 22 freight trains travel the Toronto-Montreal route every day.
As part of the action, CN is seeking an extension of the court order that ended the blockade and is trying to establish a way to bar future blockades on its tracks.
Shawn Brant, the main spokesman for the protesters from lyendinaga Mohawk Territory, is named in the CN lawsuit, along other community members. The lawsuit also targets participants in a blockade staged last year on the same rail line.
CN initially included the Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte in the suit, but said it will now not pursue legal action against the lyendinaga band because of evidence the band did not authorize or otherwise support the civil disobedience protest.
The protest, which ended when CN served the protesters with a court injunction, was part of an ongoing dispute over privately owned land near Deseronto that the lyendinaga Mohawks claim is theirs by treaty.
Brant faces a number of charges related to the blockade, including mischief, and is currently free on bail.