Burnaby RCMP began arresting protesters on Saturday for violating the terms of an injunction ordering people to stay at least five metres from sites where work has begun in Burnaby on the Kinder Morgan pipeline expansion.
Some 28 demonstrators were being arrested after they blocked Kinder Morgan’s tank farm front gate for hours, according to a news release from the protesters Saturday.
Police confirmed the number in a news release Saturday night, saying “a number of demonstrators breached a court ordered injunction which stated that they could not obstruct, impede or otherwise prevent access to Trans Mountain Facilities.”
Each of the demonstrators has since been released, police said, and all will appear in court in the coming weeks.
Amina Moustaqim-Barrette, who spoke on behalf of a coalition of demonstrators under the banner Protect the Inlet, said each protester was ready to be arrested to send a clear message against Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project.
“The community isn’t going to lay down and just accept that this pipeline is going to be built,” she said. “They’re going to show their opposition very loudly and very purposefully.”
Twenty-eight demonstrators began blocking the entrance to Kinder Morgan’s work site at about 10 a.m. PT Saturday. Four hours later, some of the protesters tied themselves to the gate using zip ties, Moustaqim-Barrette said.
Burnaby RCMP moved in soon after, reading out the B.C. Supreme Court injunction granted Thursday to Kinder Morgan, she said.
Moustaqim-Barrette said all 28 demonstrators had been arrested by Saturday evening after what she described as a “very peaceful” demonstration.
“Everyone was very aware of the situation, of the possibility of arrest. And everyone was given the chance at any time during the day to leave that zone and not be arrested,” said Moustaqim-Barrette, who is also communications co-ordinator for environmental organization 350.org.
She said there are similar actions planned for each day starting Monday, which will involve Indigenous leaders, politicians, celebrities and grassroots volunteers.
On Thursday, a judge granted Trans Mountain an indefinite injunction aimed at preventing people from entering within five metres of work sites at the Burnaby and Westridge Marine terminals.
“We need more people standing on the front lines,”said Angelina Rose, a UBC student, who was one of the people arrested, in a statement. “As a person of mixed Indigenous and settler history, I owe it to my ancestors, my future grandchildren and Coast Salish nations to stand with them in this fight.”
Last weekend, more than 5,000 peaceful demonstrators marched to the tank farm, where Metro First Nations began construction of a wood-frame “Watch House” along the pipeline route. The building serves as a base for opponents on Burnaby Mountain.
The Trans Mountain expansion project would nearly triple the capacity of the current pipeline system to 890,000 barrels a day.