Kinder Morgan protest arrests may be illegal says BCCLA

As the arrest count exceeds 100 for breaking the Kinder Morgan injunction , B.C. Civil Liberties says most of those arrests may be unlawful.

Civil Liberties Association says RCMP exclusion zone extends beyond boundaries of original court order

87-year-old Jean McLaren (far left) along with other veteran anti-logging protesters, (L to R) Karen Mahon, Bonny Glambeck and Valerie Langer shortly before their arrest Wednesday on Burnaby Mountain. (Greg Rasmussen/CBC)

The B.C. Civil Liberties Association says it's likely the RCMP may have been acting outside the law in its recent arrests of dozens of protesters on Burnaby Mountain.

The association points to a new court application to expand the exclusion zone granted Kinder Morgan in an earlier civil injunction against the protesters.

Clayoquot sound was a turning point...I feel that's happening here today, we are going to change the tide on climate policy- Environmental activist Valerie Langer

It says those hauled away might not actually have been violating the injunction at the time of their arrest because they never actually entered the no-go area.

“The thing with being charged with breaching a court order is that you need to have actually breached what the court ordered.

It’s totally unclear whether that is the case," said Josh Paterson, Executive Director of the Civil Liberties Association in a written release.

Patterson says there is confusion over the exact GPS coordinates of the zone and it's causing problems for both demonstrators and the RCMP.

About 100 protesters gathered at the base of Burnaby Mountain on Wednesday morning. (Greg Rasmussen/CBC)

Also today, several veterans of the Clayoquot Sound anti-logging movement joined the growing list of those arrested.

Today's arrests now put the total of those taken away by police at more than 100.Karen Mahon is one of several veterans of the mass arrests in 1993 on the West Coast of Vancouver Island. She walked across police lines and was taken into custody today on Burnaby Mountain east of Vancouver.

Echos of earlier protests

More than 900 protesters were arrested in 1993 as environmentalists fought to stop logging in the old growth of Clayoquot Sound, making it at the time the largest act of civil disobedience in Canadian history.

Valerie Langer, another longtime environmental campaigner, was also taken away by police as a crowd of supporters yelled out "thank you" and sang songs of support.

Veteran of the anti-logging protests of the nineties and longtime environmental activist Valerie Langer was one of those arrested today. (Greg Rasmussen/CBC)

Before her arrest she says she chose to violate the injunction because it is reminiscent of the anti-logging protests in the early nineties which led to changes in forest practices.

"Clayoquot Sound was a turning point in conservation policy and for the environmental movement," she told CBC news. "I feel that's happening here today. We are going to change the tide on climate policy."

The oldest person arrested today, 87 year old Jean McLaren received some of the loudest cheers after a long walk up the hill to the protest site.

Mounties treated her gingerly but she too was taken away in a police wagon. Most of those arrested are released within hours, after signing an undertaking promising to appear in court in January.

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.