Protesters await court decision on injunction

B.C. Supreme Court will rule by Nov. 17 on Kinder Morgan’s injunction request and multimillion civil claim

The B.C. Supreme Court will decide by Nov. 17 whether to grant Kinder Morgan an injunction to stop anti-pipeline protesters from interfering with survey work on Burnaby Mountain.

The pipeline company also launched a multimillion civil suit against the five pipeline opponents, claiming, assault, trespassing and intimidation, and protesters are anxiously waiting for the Associate Chief Justice Austin Cullen’s decision.

“It’s in the back of your mind, and you have one eye on that all the time,” said Stephen Collis, an SFU English professor and one of five protesters named in the suit. “I’m pretty exhausted, emotionally, as well as everything else.”

Collis characterized Kinder Morgan’s suit as a frivolous attempt to shut down protesters. Fellow protester Lynne Quarmby agreed.

“It’s obvious that their intent is to intimidate and silence us, and I was determined to be strong and to not be silenced and to continue to speak out,” she told the NOW. “But I think it’s also important to acknowledge it’s been an incredibly difficult time. It has definitely thrown our lives into chaos.”

Quarmby, Collis, Alan Dutton of BROKE and two other protesters have been singled out as the ringleaders, leading the charge to block Kinder Morgan’s survey work in the conservation area, but Quarmby says there are many people on the mountain, and there’s no hierarchical structure in place.

Even if Kinder Morgan secures and injunction, people are not going to easily walk away from the mountain, Quarmby added.

“So I’m nervous about that,” she said.

The three days of court hearings ran until last Friday. Kinder Morgan’s lawyer argued in court that facial expressions can constitute assault, a notion that sparked an Internet meme that’s gone viral.

Pipeline opponents have been uploading their “Kinder Morgan faces” – frowning, snarling or making silly facial expressions – on Twitter, with the hashtag #KMface. The meme has been garnering media attention across the country.

Meanwhile, protesters have maintained a presence on Burnaby Mountain and hosted a weekend of activities, with music and art.

An online fundraising campaign has raised more than $51,000 to help cover the protesters’ legal defence, and there are more fundraisers in the works, Collis said.

One protester was arrested over the weekend on Burnaby Mountain. (Click here for video of the confrontation and arrest.) Local RCMP said he was picked up for obstructing a police officer. He has since been released and he could be charged with obstruction.

© Burnaby Now

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