RCMP officers trained in high angle rescues ascended a tree to talk to anti-TMX protestor Dr. Tim Takaro in Burnaby Friday. Takaro was arrested and released on scene for breaching a court injunction. Corrin Yewchuk / Submitted

Anti-TMX tree-sitter arrested in Burnaby for breaching court injunction

A prominent anti-TMX advocate was arrested Friday morning while taking part in a tree-sit in Burnaby, in breach of a BC Supreme Court injunction.

By Srushti Gangdev | November 26, 2021 |12:31 pm

A prominent anti-TMX advocate was arrested Friday morning while taking part in a tree-sit in Burnaby, in breach of a BC Supreme Court injunction.

Dr Tim Takaro, who’s a doctor and public health professor at SFU, had set up camp in a tree near Lougheed Hwy and Gaglardi Ave earlier in the week to block work on the Trans Mountain pipeline in the area. Takaro has conducted regular tree-sits in the area over the past year and a half.

Thursday, the Beacon reported that Trans Mountain workers had denied fellow protestors access to the tree-sit to bring Takaro food and water.

Fellow protestor with anti-pipeline group Protect the Planet Stop TMX Corrin Yewchuk told the Beacon that 15-20 police officers, many in tactical gear, showed up to the site Friday morning.

“They started around 8[am] to do the work of extracting him, which involves the large kind of cherry-picker vehicles. They sent up two RCMP tactical squad members [who] went up and they discussed with Tim,” Yewchuk said.

Yewchuk said the RCMP officers reached an “agreement of sorts” with Takaro, who then rappelled down from the tree-sit. The officers dismantled the tree-sit as well.

Burnaby RCMP told the Beacon that it sent up officers who are trained in high angle rescues to ensure Takaro’s safety as he was removed. Takaro was released from custody on scene shortly afterwards and given a court date.

“He’s feeling defiant, but we got into this knowing that extraction would be a possibility quite quickly,” Yewchuk said.

“It was expected, but with all the climate disasters that are happening in BC, it’s especially disheartening to realize that one of our best chances of stopping this pipeline is being taken away from us faster and faster.”

Yewchuk was also critical of the number of police officers who showed up to deal with the situation.

That’s a similar sentiment to one shared by protestors earlier this month, at a rally in Burnaby in support of Wet’suwet’en blockaders.

RCMP, which has maintained a heavy police presence at a protest camp near Houston, BC, on Wet’suwet’en land, has come under criticism for its heavy use of resources during the flood crisis in southern BC.

“It is especially outrageous and reprehensible that they’re doing this when BC’s in a flood, in a crisis situation. Why are they sending RCMP up there when there’s all this stuff going on down here that needs attending to?” protestor Rita Wong told the Beacon then.

“They could be saving lives instead of harassing Indigenous peoples and threatening them with assault rifles.”

Trans Mountain said in a statement Friday morning that they were aware of the arrest in Burnaby.

“Trans Mountain respects the right to peaceful, lawful expressions of opinions. There is a BC Supreme Court injunction in place that prevents the blocking or obstructing of access to Trans Mountain’s work sites and work areas throughout British Columbia,” the company said.

RCMP said this is the 9th arrest in Burnaby this year for criminal contempt of court related to the injunction order.

Srushti Gangdev

Reporter at Burnaby Beacon

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