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Camp Cloud anti-pipeline demonstration being dismantled

Last Updated Aug 16, 2018 at 12:56 pm PDT

RCMP removed demonstrators from Camp Cloud on Burnaby Mountain on Aug. 16, 2018. (David Zura, City News Photo)

BURNABY (NEWS 1130) – RCMP officers have moved in and city crews have already begun tearing down the Camp Cloud anti-pipeline demonstration on Burnaby Mountain.

The RCMP, municipal crews and fire trucks are all on the scene at Shellmont Street and Underhill Avenue.

Mounties say eleven people have been removed from the camp, five of whom were arrested. They have all been released from custody.

“They were just arrested in order to remove them from the area,” said Staff Sgt. Dave Brown.

“For safety reasons, we can’t have people there. So, there have been arrests of people that refuse to leave,” said Cpl. Daniela Panesar.

The demonstrators have been there for weeks. On Friday, the BC Supreme Court ordered the activists to take down their structures and put out their fire.

“Police maintained a dialogue with the residents of the camp in the hopes that they would obey the injunction and vacate the location. That did not happen,” reads a news release from Burnaby RCMP. “In coordination with the City of Burnaby, today the Burnaby RCMP is enforcing the injunction.”

The demonstrators have been demanding Kinder Morgan stop moving ahead with its expansion of the Trans Mountain pipeline.

“Those of us who are affiliated with the watchtower camp are remaining on Burnaby Mountain. We’ve been able to successfully — so far — negotiate any safety concerns that have come up with the City of Burnaby. We plan to stay and continue to protest this pipeline,” said Tzeporah Berman with Stand.earth.

She said protesters are relocating to a different camp a short distance away. “We’ve been organizing with Indigenous leadership, who want to… continue to protest. They’ve chosen Aug. 20th as the first week of action.”

Berman said demonstrators will continue to speak out because they feel the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion puts the environment at risk.

A 48-hour deadline set by the court passed Sunday night but protesters at the encampment said Monday they were prepared to protect a sacred fire, which has been burning since the camp was set up late last year. They also said they were prepared to tie themselves to structures rather than obey the injunction.

Camp Cloud has grown since last November, when opponents of the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion parked a single trailer at the gates of the Kinder Morgan tank farm on Burnaby Mountain.

The camp has become a rallying point for demonstrators opposed to the pipeline, which will more than triple the amount of bitumen and other oil products moving from Edmonton to Burnaby before it is shipped overseas by tanker.

The federal government approved expansion of the pipeline in 2016 but environmental and B.C. government opposition led Kinder Morgan, the pipeline’s original owner, to announce it would back out of the project.

The federal government offered $4.5 billion to purchase the project and Kinder Morgan is presenting that offer to its shareholders, with expectation the sale will be approved later this month or in September. The purchase price, which includes the existing pipeline, pumping stations, rights of way, and the Westridge marine terminal in Burnaby, does not cover the construction costs of building the new pipeline, previously estimated at about $7.4 billion.

– With files from Amelia John