Kinder Morgan pipeline protesters resist police efforts to move them
RCMP arrest 24 protesters for violating court order on Burnaby Mountain
The situation atop Burnaby Mountain heated up again after Kinder Morgan crews began arriving Thursday afternoon to start work, leading to the arrest of 24 people by the end of the day.
The arrests began on Thursday morning shortly after 8 a.m. PT, when more than a dozen police officers arrived and once again read out the injunction issued earlier this week.
Police then began arresting protesters who remained in the camp in violation of the injunction.
Many of the remaining protesters appeared to move across the road to an area designated by the police, but some protesters remained in the camp.
Around noon, one woman locked herself to a concrete block.
By 1:30 p.m. PT police confirmed 14 people had been arrested, and seven of those arrested had already been released.
During the arrests, traffic to the area was blocked by police at the bottom of Centennial Way, and reporters near the protest camp were ordered to stand behind tape laid out by police.
Many supporters of the protesters, however, managed to walk to the site to witness the arrests.
Following those arrests, Kinder Morgan announced around 1 p.m. PT that staff and contractors working on its Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project had arrived to begin geotechnical survey work for a proposed tunnel under the mountain.
Around the same time, the tone of the protest changed. A line of about 40 protesters began resisting police efforts to move them further away from their encampment which crews intended to dismantle.
RCMP were asking them to move about 60 metres up the road, but the line moved less than 12 metres before protesters began standing their ground.
During the ensuing standoff, police made 10 more arrests and resorted to physically pushing the line as the protesters engaged in passive resistance.
Burnaby RCMP Staff Sgt. Major John Buis said a protest zone was set up for those protesters who did not want to violate the injunction.
"At all times during this process, the Burnaby RCMP has strived to maintain the balance between the need to maintain public safety and civil order and the democratic right to hold demonstrations," said Buis.
Police making the arrests were also wearing body-mounted video cameras, Buis confirmed.
Injunction issued last week
Last Friday, a B.C. judge gave protesters until Monday afternoon to take down their camp and make way for Kinder Morgan crews to continue their survey work in the Burnaby Mountain Conservation Area.
But as Monday's 4 p.m. deadline to leave arrived, the protesters defied the court order and staged a rally instead. Many vowed to stay and block the company's access to the work areas, despite the risk of arrest.
Kinder Morgan is proposing to route its Trans Mountain pipeline under the mountain as part of its proposed expansion of the oil pipeline.
With files from the CBC's Farrah Merali and Tim Weekes