British Columbia

19 arrested at Trans Mountain pipeline protest site in Burnaby, B.C.

A 70-year-old man who climbed 20 metres up a tree was one of 19 demonstrators arrested by Burnaby RCMP Monday. Activists are planning a week of protests against the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion.

Activists are planning a week of protests in the lead-up to Kinder Morgan's deadline for clearing trees

Terry Christenson at the top of his 20-metre ascent into his hammock perch Monday afternoon. (Rafferty Baker/CBC)

A 70-year-old man who planned to spend several days 20 metres up a tree at Kinder Morgan's Burnaby, B.C., terminal was one of 19 people arrested Monday.

Terry Christenson, a senior from Ontario who described himself as an expert on climbing and using ropes, manufactured a hammock-like perch suspended between trees and planned to eat meal supplements sparingly to make the trip last as long as possible.

"I'm going to stay as long as I can. Time to suffer," he said. "Just trying to get inventive somehow. I get to go minimal."

A Burnaby RCMP officer reads a court injunction to a group of protesters who have zap-strapped themselves to a gate at Kinder Morgan's Burnaby terminal. (Rafferty Baker/CBC)

But it was not to be. According to a spokesperson for the protesters, Christenson was arrested around 8 p.m. PT.

RCMP said in a news release that Christenson's behaviour put himself and officers at risk and he and others were arrested for violating an injunction order keeping them five metres away from Trans Mountain sites.

Police said two people were arrested after dark when they climbed onto a flatbed truck transporting an excavator. One of the activists allegedly locked himself to the front of the machine. The other activist climbed on top of the excavator and refused to come down.

During the arrest of the woman who climbed the excavator, police say other demonstrators tried to intervene. Two more people were arrested for obstruction, and, according to a statement released by the RCMP, three officers suffered minor injuries, including a head injury after an officer was allegedly kicked. 

Activists are planning a week of protests against the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion.

Week of protests

RCMP officers read out a court injunction before arresting at least three people who had used zap straps to tie themselves to a gate, in order to prevent work trucks from entering the area.

Protest organizers have said they're planning daily demonstrations until at least March 26,  the deadline given to Kinder Morgan for clearing trees in the area before birds begin nesting.

Last week, a B.C. Supreme Court judge granted Kinder Morgan an indefinite injunction that prohibits protesters from coming within five metres of pipeline work site.

Dozens of activists were arrested at the site over the weekend.

A couple dozen protesters were gathered at the work site Monday, and said they planned to continue blocking the gate in small groups, sending a new group in each time there are more arrests.

What are the risks?

An RCMP spokesperson said protesters arrested for breaching the injunction will not automatically be burdened with a criminal record. 

Any protester who's arrested is released on a promise to appear in court, said Cpl. Daniela Panesar. 

But Dylan Mazur, a community lawyer with the B.C. Civil Liberties Association, warned potential protesters to consider the consequences. 

"I can't advise anyone to break the law," Mazur said on CBC Radio One's On The Coast.

Mazur said any adverse interaction with police is still recorded on a person's non-conviction record, which could be a red flag to employers. 

The association partnered with a legal collective to deploy legal observers during the March 10 protest in Burnaby. 

The volunteers make sure that protests are peaceful and no one is unlawfully arrested, Mazur said. 

Listen to the full interview with Dylan Mazur:

With files from Rafferty Baker, Alex Migdal, Liam Britten and CBC Radio One's On The Coast


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