MAPLE RIDGE (NEWS 1130) – Friends and supporters gathered at a Maple Ridge jail today, where Rita Wong is currently serving a 28-day sentence after protesting the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion.
Wong, a professor at Emily Carr University was arrested after protesting on Burnaby Mountain against the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion last year. She was sentenced to 28 days in jail for violating a court injunction that bars protestors from getting close to the terminal.
Jim Leyden, a member of Mountain Protectors, says he wants people who have been arrested to know they are supported.
“Give them support and let them know we honour them for what they did,” he says, adding it’s not an easy choice for someone who has never been in jail to voluntarily go for 28 days.
“There’s going to be more people going in prison in the future. So this is a message to everybody that was is happening is an honourable choice, an honourable political choice,” Leyden says.
Trans Mountain Corp. recently advised construction contractors to get ready for the restart of its pipeline expansion project to the west coast. Work is also set to resume at the terminal in Burnaby, the end point for the contentious pipeline that is to carry oil from Alberta to the coast for shipment to overseas markets.
The gathering is being called a “community ceremony,” and took place at the Alouette Correctional Centre in Maple Ridge. Leyden says it is a time for prayer and to share food.
“We tried to keep it small because we don’t want to intimidate the prison. It’s not a protest. It’s just a support rally for Rita Wong,” he says.
Supporters were asked to bring drums and food to share.
With files from the Canadian Press.