Protesters return to Burnaby to block Trans Mountain pipeline construction

RCMP Descend on Kinder Morgan site in Burnaby
WATCH ABOVE: A number of pipeline protestors were arrested at a demonstration at the entrance to the Trans Mountain work site. Nadia Stewart reports.

Dozens of activists descended on Kinder Morgan’s facility on Burnaby Mountain Saturday to continue their protest against the Trans Mountain pipeline, leading to dozens of arrests.

The Protect the Inlet campaign, which brought thousands of people marching to Kinder Morgan’s facility on Burnaby Mountain, was behind this weekend’s demonstration as well.

READ MORE: Thousands march in Burnaby to protest Trans Mountain pipeline expansion

“We’ve collected here to take collective action, to take bold action to demonstrate to Justin Trudeau that this project is not in the national interest,” protest leader Clayton Thomas-Muller of the Stop It At the Source campaign said.

“Today represents the first day of many of citizens and First Nations alike working together collectively…to defend people, land and climate.”

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WATCH BELOW: Police ask Kinder Morgan protesters to leave site before placing some under arrest

Police ask Kinder Morgan protesters to leave site before placing some under arrest
Police ask Kinder Morgan protesters to leave site before placing some under arrest

Some reports from the scene estimate as many as 100 people turned out for Saturday’s demonstration, which made its way right up to the entrance to the facility, defying a court-ordered injunction ordering protesters to stay at least five metres away from both Burnaby facilities.

That injunction was made permanent Thursday, after an informal order was issued by the B.C. Supreme Court last week.

LISTEN BELOW: CKNW provides coverage and details ahead of the protest.

Police showed up in the afternoon to pass out printed copies of the injunction to the protesters, some of whom had zip-tied themselves to the gate.

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Minutes later, officers began making arrests, leading people one by one to a nearby processing area. Those who were arrested left peacefully and without complaint, and were soon released pending upcoming court dates.

RCMP said Saturday night that a total of 28 people were arrested.

WATCH BELOW: One of the organizers of the anti-pipelin protest talks about why the group continues to oppose the Trans Mountain pipeline.

Kinder Morgan protesters discuss why they’re taking action against pipeline
Kinder Morgan protesters discuss why they’re taking action against pipeline

The organizers, including Coast Salish spiritual leaders and other First Nations members, are looking to delay the site’s tree logging operation before it’s scheduled to complete by March 26.

Nesting migratory birds are set to arrive that day, which would force logging work to be put on hold until August if it’s not finished before the birds show up.

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Demonstrators on Saturday said they were prepared to stay at the site until the logging deadline to ensure the work does not go ahead.

READ MORE: Burnaby anti-pipeline protester in her teens arrested after chaining herself to a work truck

Demonstrators gathered at a recently-built “watch house” built a short distance away from the facility, before marching to the main gate blocking the entrance to the facility.

Once there, the activists pounded drums and announced their arrival, before sitting in place directly outside the gate.

People taking part in the protest say they fully expect to be arrested for defying the injunction.

On Friday, a young woman was taken into custody for chaining herself to a work truck, preventing it from operating.

Pipeline supporters confident

Some supporters of the pipeline said the activists taking part in Saturday’s protest and other demonstrations are in the minority when it comes to opinions on the pipeline.

“They don’t represent the majority of Canadians, and they don’t represent the majority of British Columbians,” Resource Works executive director Stewart Muir told Global News.

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“I think these protest groups are increasingly desperate and resorting to extremist threats,” he added. “They’ve realized that they’re losing their public relations war. Most Canadians actually are pretty common sense when it comes to doing energy shipping safely.”

WATCH BELOW: Paul Johnson reports on last week’s rally supporting the Trans Mountain pipeline

Supporters of the Trans Mountain Pipeline expansion hold counter-rally
Supporters of the Trans Mountain Pipeline expansion hold counter-rally

Muir said he’s not worried about the impending logging deadline, citing the federal government’s approval of the project and the injunction as proof that the pipeline will be built regardless of actions taken by the protesters or any delays.

“I think there are a lot of people who are quietly supportive [of the pipeline] but…are too busy to go to protests,” he said, urging those people to express their support to their MP.
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A statement from Kinder Morgan said it’s focusing on ensuring the safety of its workers as they operate on the site.

“We respect the right to peacefully protest and there are many ways to express opinions in a safe and lawful manner,” it read.

A new poll from Abacus Data released Saturday found 45 per cent of respondents either strongly supported or leaned towards supporting the pipeline, while another 35 per cent either strongly opposed or leaned towards opposing the project.

With files from Nadia Stewart and Kyle Benning