2 Green Party leaders face charges at Plan B site
The party's interim leader and incoming leader are among 5 facing charges
The incoming leader and interim leader of P.E.I.'s Green Party were among five people served with papers by RCMP Tuesday for trespassing while protesting at a Trans-Canada Highway construction site west of Charlottetown.
Peter Bevan-Baker, who will be acclaimed provincial leader in November, was with a group of people protesting the realignment of the highway from New Haven to Bonshaw.
The province says the project is necessary for safety reasons, but the protesters say it is unnecessary and harmful to the environment.
Bevan-Baker argued with police when he was served with papers, saying he and other protesters did leave the property when asked.
"It's patently obvious. I was up there, now I'm here, I left, I offered no resistance," he argued.
A group blocked the path of a large wood harvester. Protesters told CBC News the harvester narrowly missed a few of them.
Darcie Lanthier, the Green Party's interim leader, was also taking part in the protest.
"I could say unanimously, 'Nobody wants to get hurt,' but nobody wants this to be steamrolled through ahead of the process," Lanthier told an RCMP officer. "We have to stop that and if you've been down there you know we have to stop that too. We have to, how could we sleep at night if we did not?"
Police said Lanthier was later carried off the construction site and charged with mischief and resisting arrest.
Other protesters climbed trees and some secured themselves to branches, but there was no construction activity taking place in that area at the time.
The project received environmental approval early last week and work started on Thursday.
Work was shut down by RCMP, however, as protesters walked on to the work site. Police ordered the contractor to fence off the area. It required a fence more than 6.2 kilometres long.
Protesters were still able to get close to the construction work Tuesday, and complained that workers were operating machinery unsafely in their presence early in the morning.
RCMP have warned workers not to operate heavy equipment when protesters are close by. A tree harvester and an excavator have stopped work on Tuesday because protesters were too close.
Bevan-Baker and two others were asked to leave the site and were served papers by RCMP to appear in court in December to face trespassing charges. Bevan-Baker said he believed he had the right to a peaceful assembly on public property.
By mid-afternoon most of the protesters retreated to their base camp located on adjacent private property and construction at the site continued.