Burnaby RCMP have had their hands full this week with a series of arrests in connection with anti-pipeline protests over the Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion project.
The latest arrest took place on Thursday morning, when police were called to the 8000-block area of Shellmont Street, after receiving reports that a woman had chained herself to a tree located in a work zone.
As police arrived on the scene, the protester was joined by two other women, who held onto the chains and also allegedly refused to leave the area.
Police arrested the trio for mischief.
The incident came a day after police were called to the very same area around 10 am, after being informed that a man had chained himself to a tree.
Police said that despite officers “repeatedly” asking the man to unchain himself and leave, he allegedly refused to do so, and was arrested for mischief as a result.
On Monday and Tuesday, officers were called to the area outside Westridge Marine Terminal, in the 7000 block of Bayview Drive.
The first day it was in response to a protester that had jumped on top of a work vehicle. Despite attempts by Burnaby RCMP officers to have the man come down, he refused to do so.
He tried to flee police by running along the bed of the fully loaded truck and trailer.
Eventually, the 25-year-old was apprehended. Police said he’s facing a potential mischief charge.
Tuesday saw a number of demonstrators blocking work vehicle access to the terminal.
Officers spent the morning asking the demonstrators to clear the road and all but one of them – a 47-year-old woman – complied. She was arrested just before 10:30 am.
Police “impartial party”
In light of these arrests and the role police play in monitoring them, Burnaby RCMP said in a statement that officers are an “impartial party” at these demonstrations.
“Demonstrators have a right to lawful, peaceful, and safe protest and companies have a right to complete their work.,” said police.
However, “by going into the work zone these demonstrators put themselves, responding police officers, and workers on the site, at risk of injury.”
While they recognized that the number of officers at demonstrations may seem high to some, police said, “responses to each demonstration may be different and are based on the facts of each new event.”