Twelve protesters who spent nearly two days suspended from a bridge in British Columbia, blocking the path of an oil tanker, vowed Thursday to continue fighting Canada’s plans to buy Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain pipeline, after police forced them to end their demonstration.
“I will remain the fierce opposition. It is in my blood to protect the water. Our Indigenous rights are being completely ignored, the safety of our water is being ignored, and most of all my son’s future is at stake. I will do whatever it takes to protect the water and my family and your family,” Will George, an Indigenous Coast Salish member, said in a statement after the protest ended.
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George was among the Greenpeace members—from all over Canada as well as the U.S., Mexico, and the U.K.—who rappelled from the Iron Workers Memorial Bridge for 35 hours to form a blockade preventing a Trans Mountain oil tanker from leaving Vancouver with tar sands oil.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau plans to purchase the existing Trans Mountain pipeline and Kinder Morgan’s expansion project, which carries crude and refined oil from Alberta to Canada’s western coast, costing taxpayers $4.5 billion.
More than 200 people have been arrested in British Columbia for protesting the plan, which opponents say will put coastal communities at grave risk of oil spills and will threaten the area’s dwindling orca population with extinction. The plan also violates the U.N. Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
“No one should need to spend almost two days suspended from a bridge trying to protect something as essential as water but that’s exactly what Prime Minister Trudeau has driven us to do,” said Mike Hudema, a Greenpeace Canada spokesperson. “The prime minister still has a chance to make the right decision and stop this pipeline. Whether it’s by his pen, in the courts, or the global resistance the pipeline won’t be built—this movement of people isn’t going anywhere.”
As outcry over the financing of fossil fuel projects has grown, Europe’s two largest banks, BNP Paribas and HSBC, have announced they would not support the Trans Mountain pipeline.
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