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Thousands Gather at Northern Gateway to Protest Pipeline

Mass sit-in planned at British Columbia Legislature

Common Dreams staff

Protesters against the Northern Gateway pipeline take part in a mass sit-in in front of the British Columbia legislature in Victoria on Monday. (Photo: Jonathan Hayward / The Canadian Press.)

Thousands gathered at the British Columbia Legislature Monday to stage a mass sit-in protesting the Northern Gateway Pipeline project.

The protestors, including environmental groups, unions and First Nations Tribes, oppose a plan by Enbridge Inc., to transport Canadian crude oil through twin pipelines running from Bruderheim, Alberta, to Kitimat, British Columbia. Tthe pipeline is slated to cut through sensitive environmental areas and First Nations' lands.

“We mean to deliver a message to Christy Clark and the federal government that British Columbians oppose these tar sands, tankers and pipelines,” Peter McHugh, spokesman for the group Defend Our Coast, told the Globe and Mail.

The Legislature is not currently in session.

Although the protest is planned as a peaceful sit in, Nikki Skuce of ForestEthics said protesters "Said they'll do whatever it takes to try to stop these projects."

Before the protest began, organizers offered civil disobedience training, CBC news reported.

Northern Gateway protests have been supported by such unions as the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union, the Canadian Auto Workers, the B.C. Teachers’ Federation, the Canadian Union of Public Employees and the United Fishermen and Allied Workers’ Union, the Globe and Mail reports, as well as by Greenpeace, ForestEthics, the Council of Canadians and several First Nations.

Over 80 organizations announced plans earlier this month for a mass sit in at the British Columbia legislature to protest the proposed tar sands pipeline. Organizers called for today's action to be the "biggest act of civil disobedience" on the tarsands issue in Canada to date.

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