Journalists faced ‘unlawful search’ when they were arrested earlier this month, says media group
Two Canadian journalists have been arrested and charged with violating the arrest of protesters who tried to stop construction of an oil pipeline and have now been released.
The National Union of Journalists Canada said the journalists were conducting a live broadcast of activists detained earlier this month when they were arrested. The arrest followed a tense confrontation between RCMP and protesters on a logging road in northern British Columbia, which ended with the death of protester Link Poulin.
The CBC, which is Canada’s public broadcaster, quoted its national editor Keith Stewart as saying the two journalists were arrested by RCMP on July 9 while they were conducting a live broadcast.
They faced an “unlawful search” for attempting to photograph active protest activity when they were arrested, Stewart said. It’s also alleged that they had participated in a blockade of a logging road.
Poulin, 25, was one of 15 people arrested during a demonstration blocking the construction of the pipeline near Burns Lake in northern British Columbia on 4 July. His death has been ruled a suicide by the RCMP.
After protests against the pipeline, Indigenous groups and environmentalists from different provinces converged on a logging road in Burns Lake on the weekend of 2-3 July to oppose the work. At least one protester claimed that truckers engaged in a race against police to try to scare off protesters.
A larger protest involving hundreds of people started at the airport in Fort St John, about 40 miles west of Burns Lake, in a state of state of emergency declared by the provincial government.
Burns Lake is where British Columbia sits on the estimated passage for the proposed 1,200-mile (1,900km) Keystone XL pipeline from the oil sands of Alberta. Opponents say the pipeline is a transport method for dirty fossil fuels that contributes to climate change.
The proposed Keystone XL pipeline will travel from Alberta, through Nebraska and Wisconsin to the Gulf of Mexico.
Pipeline opponents have argued the oil sands in Alberta will be developed regardless of whether the line is built. The project, which has been proposed by US companies, would carry crude oil produced from Alberta’s oil sands to refineries along the US Gulf Coast.
TransCanada declined to comment on the arrests.