Credits: NCENT BRETON/LE NORD-EST/AGENCE QMI
SEPT-ILES, QC - Provincial police stood poised Tuesday to break up a road blockade by Innu natives in northern Quebec.
Dissident Uashat-Maliotenam band members say they've been shut out of the province's resource-development plan.
They've used trees, traffic cones and other debris to block Highway 138 near this north shore community since Saturday. Only emergency vehicles are being allowed to pass.
Police officers had asked the demonstrators to reopen the road on Monday, but they refused.
A local settlement has been completely isolated by the blockade.
The Uashat-Maliotenam band council distanced itself from the demonstrators, saying "in the immediate future, the band prefers mediation to resolve this crisis."
Protesters say they have been systematically excluded from talks related to Quebec's Northern Plan to develop natural resources.
Quebec wants to exploit mining, forest and energy resources in a 1.2-million-square-km region, a little more than twice the size of France.
By the end of 2010, 24 of 33 First Nation communities in the Northern Plan territory had signed agreements with the provincial government.