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Massive Protest in British Columbia as Thousands March to Stop Kinder Morgan Pipeline

“Protect the Inlet” marched on Saturday.

Harriet Prince, 76, of the Anishinaabe tribe, marches with Coast Salish Water Protectors and others against the expansion of Texas-based Kinder Morgan's Trans Mountain pipeline project in Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada on March 10, 2018. (Photo: Jason Redmond / AFP / Getty Images)

Disregarding an injunction won by the pipeline company a day before the planned protest, thousands of people marched in Burnaby, British Columbia on Saturday to protest the expansion of a Kinder Morgan tar sands pipeline and export terminal that First Nations and climate justice campaigners say would threaten local waterways, erode Indigenous rights, and increase planet-warming carbon emissions.

Under a joint call to #ProtectTheInlet and #StopKM, opponents of the project — spearheaded by the “Protect the Inlet” or Kwekwecnewtxw initiative coordinated by Coast Salish spiritual leaders — marched on Saturday and also erected a physical “watchhouse” that will serve as a beacon for ongoing opposition to the pipeline company’s efforts.

Members of the Tsleil-Waututh, Squamish and Musqueam First Nations say they do not consent to Kinder Morgan’s plans and have vowed to fight the project’s approval and completion with every means necessary.

“For Tsleil-Waututh Nation, the People of the Inlet, it is our sacred obligation to protect the water,” the tribe said in a statement ahead of Saturday’s protest. And while they said they will continue their legal battle against the pipeline company in the court, they added, “In our opposition to Kinder Morgan, we are many people paddling in the same direction.”

Climate campaigners and environmental allies in Canada, meanwhile, have been clear that they believe Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who has defended the expansion in B.C., remains on the wrong side of fossil fuel projects like Kinder Morgan’s.

“It’s clear, Justin Trudeau’s talking points on Kinder Morgan don’t match the science. This pipeline endangers the coast, the climate and communities, especially Indigenous communities,” Katie Perfitt of 350 Canada said last week. “Trudeau has put the interests of a Texas oil company ahead of clean water, Indigenous rights and the climate. He’s on the wrong side of history.”

Organizers and participants on Saturday shared photos, videos, and updates on Twitter:

And the #ProtectTheInlet and #StopKM hashtags also provided a vivid sense of the joyfyl yet determined attitude of those who attended, many of whom planned to risk arrest or perform acts of civil disobedience:

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