Hundreds of demonstrators, led by Indigenous drummers, made their way through downtown Victoria Saturday to protest the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion.
The large protest group, organized by Rise and Resist, left City Hall early in the morning and crowded the middle of major streets in the capital city on their way to Island View Beach near Victoria International Airport.
WATCH: (Aired June 18) Trans Mountain pipeline decision sets off pro and con rallies
Police escorted the group along their 22-kilometre route, which included a seven-kilometre stretch of Highway 17.
A small house was towed behind the protesters that will be temporarily erected at the beach to house future pipeline demonstrators.
Paul Watner of the Saanich First Nation said the group intends to keep up pressure on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and the federal government, who green-lit the controversial pipeline expansion for a second time on Tuesday.
“Now’s the time worldwide to rise up and end the era of foolishness,” he said. “We need to end the era of fossil fuel insanity and destruction of life.
“It’s beyond insanity to believe that you can tap the tarsands and completely disrupt our climate when we’re in an era of climate emergency. Justin Trudeau needs to be a human being and think of his children.”
The approval came after months of renewed consultations with Indigenous groups, which were ordered by the Federal Court of Appeal last August after finding the initial consultations that led to the first approval in 2016 insufficient.
The new pipeline is set to twin an existing pipeline that runs from northern Alberta to the Kinder Morgan terminal on Burnaby Mountain, potentially tripling the amount of bitumen flowing into B.C.
The Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs and members of Protect the Inlet, who have led past protests ahead of Tuesday’s decision, were also part of Saturday’s march.
Victoria resident Eric Doherty said he’s protesting the government’s use of tax dollars to support the fossil fuel industry.
WATCH: (Aired June 19) Growing debate over federal government’s approval of Trans Mountain pipeline expansion
Other protests were held on Saturday against the project’s approval, including in Burnaby, where Dogwood volunteers canvassed neighbourhoods close to the Kinder Morgan terminal to collect community voices who oppose the pipeline.
— With files from the Canadian Press