Burnaby RCMP moved in to enforce an injunction to remove Trans Mountain pipeline protesters on Burnaby Mountain on Thursday morning.
Burnaby RCMP says 11 people were removed from the camp, and five were arrested and have since been released.
Everything happened very swiftly, smoothly, there were no injuries, there was no violence, it went very well,” said Burnaby RCMP Cpl. Daniela Panesar.
“Some were escorted off, walked off by themselves. Some were assisted, with a — it’s a sort of modified trolley stretcher if they refused to walk.”
The City of Burnaby said the action came after protesters had been given ample time to comply with an order to vacate, issued because the camp violated numerous bylaws and over concerns about a fire that Indigenous groups say is sacred.
WATCH: Camp Cloud drama unfolded while Global News was on the air Thursday morning
“We’ve been trying for months, since the early part of this year, to seek compliance with the occupants in a very open way and were not successful,” said Burnaby director of corporate services Dipak Dattni.
“We were then forced to take a very formal approach and started posting notices for non-compliance of the bylaw. And you may have seen in the media that they were not receptive to that.”
WATCH: City of Burnaby responds to removal of pipeline protestors at Camp Cloud
Dattni said there was no timeline for the camp’s removal, but that city officials would be taking an inventory of the camp so that protesters could retrieve their belongings later, and were sweeping for potentially dangerous items.
Protester Xenoah Skinteh said police moved in around 6:30 a.m. and “stormed the gate,” arresting occupants.
He said campers had gone to the city in an 11th-hour attempt to stop the camp’s removal.
“ we actually went in to the City of Burnaby and formally invited them to a gathering to have food here on the land and have another discussion, so I guess this was their response,” he said.
Dattni confirmed protesters had approached the city, but said the time for talk was over, and protesters had been unwilling to budge on a two-storey “watch tower” built on site.
“I think after months and months of discussion, we passed that point. Because they had ample opportunity to come and rectify,” he said.
Our Global News crew on Burnaby Mountain Thursday morning was also told they could be arrested due to being in what police called “an exclusion zone.”
Media were initially pushed back from the camp and behind a barrier, but were allowed into a “viewing area” later on Thursday morning.
“There is absolutely nothing that we didn’t want the public to see, we’ve been very transparent in everything we’ve done,” said Panesar.
She said the exclusion zone was stipulated by the court injunction, which required that a certain area be cleared of all people, including media.
WATCH: Police move in on anti-pipeline protest camp
Environmentalist Tzeporah Berman with Stand.Earth said clearing the camp wouldn’t stop the protests.
“I think it’s a travesty that people who are standing up for the safety of Burnaby, for the safety of our climate, in support of Indigenous rights, are being hauled away. This is a dangerous project and it shouldn’t be going forward,” she said.
She said protesters would return to blockading Kinder Morgan’s operations on Monday.
“There will be times when individuals will make the choice to move forward and block the construction of these terminals.”
The demonstrators have been camped out on Burnaby Mountain for weeks, despite a court order to take down “Camp Cloud” by Sunday night.
On Friday, a B.C. Supreme Court judge granted the City of Burnaby an injunction to remove the pipeline protest camp outside one of Kinder Morgan’s terminals.
Burnaby RCMP say they have been monitoring the protest camp, located at the intersection of Underhill Avenue and Shellmont Street, adding officers have maintained a dialogue with the residents of the camp in the hopes they would obey the injunction.
Burnaby RCMP said it was not expecting any violence or disorder during the injunction enforcement period but the public may see more equipment from the City of Burnaby and Burnaby RCMP removing the structures at the camp.
Photos of Camp Cloud and a second smaller camp nearby:
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