VANCOUVER — Pipeline protesters who were ordered to take down their camp outside a Kinder Morgan terminal in Burnaby, B.C., are instead preparing to tie themselves to its structures in anticipation of police intervention.
Spokeswoman Kwitsel Tatel said Monday that some of the camp's protesters have offered to protect a sacred fire that has been burning around the clock at the settlement known as Camp Cloud.
"There have been exercises that Camp Cloud has applied in order to reject police brutality by tying ourselves down to the sacred fire and some of our structures," she said in a phone interview Monday. "Bodies have been offered up to protect the sacred fire as of (Sunday.)"
The camp has grown since November from a single trailer to include a two-storey wooden structure, a cabin, an outdoor shower, more than a dozen tents and multiple vehicles and trailers.
On Friday, a B.C. Supreme Court judge granted the City of Burnaby an injunction ordering protesters to remove all structures, shelters and vehicles from the site outside a Kinder Morgan tank farm within 48 hours — a time window that passed on Sunday.
In his judgment, Justice Geoffrey Gomery also ordered that the fire be extinguished due to very dry conditions and its proximity to an aviation fuel site.
Several protesters remain on site, but Tatel said she left the camp at the request of her children after someone sped along the road near the camp and then threatened to strangle her.
She said the campers are exercising their Aboriginal rights to remain on the land and are making the stand to protect the water from a pipeline spill.
Since the court order was issued, protesters have moved some trailers away from a street corner that the city had expressed concerns about, she said.
Acting city manger Dipak Dattani said Monday that the city's concerns extend beyond both the fire and the trailers on the corner. The court order was posted and distributed to defendants Friday afternoon, after months of unproductive dialogue, he said.
When city officials tried to deliver the order to protesters, they threw it back in the officials' faces, he said.
"We were hoping that they would dismantle and peacefully leave the site and that has not been the case. So right now, in accordance with the plan, we're working in consultation with the RCMP to look at enforcement of the order," Dattani said.
Mounties have discretion in terms of the timing and manner in which the order will be enforced, he said.
In March, a different Supreme Court judge allowed Camp Cloud and a separate protest structure known as the Watch House to remain in place in response to a court injunction application from Kinder Morgan.
While Tatel has argued that order should still protect Camp Cloud, Dattani said the makeshift settlement has grown significantly since then, creating hazards.
Tatel said she has written a letter to the Queen of England, the Governor General of Canada and a Coast Salish chief asking them to intervene.
On Friday, Gomery said he was concerned about "vigilantes" who had begun threatening to deal with the camp themselves. Protesters have also expressed violence, he said, noting one threatened to "drop kick" and "kill" a city official.
Amy Smart, The Canadian Press