US & Canada

Canada VIA Rail blocked by indigenous murders protest

A VIA Rail train engine sits idle at Union Station in Toronto, Ontario, 22 April 2013 Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Meanwhile, service between Ottawa and Montreal is running, VIA Rail said

Services on Canada's VIA Rail commuter line between Toronto and Ottawa are expected to resume on Thursday after a protest by First Nations members.

Demonstrators from a Mohawk reserve blocked the tracks near Marysville on Wednesday to call attention to a spate of murders of indigenous women.

As many as 20 people were camped by the tracks, broadcaster CTV reported.

Authorities say rail service will likely resume on Thursday morning following inspection of the tracks.

VIA Rail reportedly replaced scheduled trains with buses between the cities during the protest, citing "security reasons" for the suspension of service.

Sun News reported the First Nations group lit a small fire alongside a sign reading "Justice for murdered and missing indigenous women".

Earlier this month, protesters also temporarily blocked a cargo rail line and a local highway in the same area.

The recent blockades follow a response to a parliamentary report on missing and murdered aboriginal women that did not recommend a full public inquiry into the deaths, a decision that angered First Nations activists and opposition parties in parliament.

More than 600 indigenous women have gone missing or have been found murdered in the past 20 years, according to the Native Women's Association of Canada.

And the February killing of Loretta Saunders, an Inuk student working on a thesis about missing and murdered indigenous women, has also reignited action over the issue.

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