Burnaby police are investigating after two pro-pipeline advocates were allegedly assaulted on Burnaby Mountain Monday evening.
The two members of Suits and Boots, an organization that advocates for the resource industry, were scoping out the area near the Trans Mountain pipeline tank farm ahead of a planned media event Wednesday, according to the group’s president, Rick Peterson.
Peterson said his group planned to stage a press conference with a bulldozer on a flatbed truck as a symbol of his group’s support for the expansion of the pipeline that runs from Edmonton to Burnaby.
He said the volunteers got out of their vehicle to look for a good spot to park the flatbed truck on Wednesday and began taking pictures of Camp Cloud, the anti-pipeline encampment that has grown on the side of Shellmont Street in recent months.
“Immediately, they were confronted by a group of about ten residents from Camp Cloud,” Peterson said.
The protesters allegedly threatened Suits and Boots members and attempted to take their camera. One protester removed their licence plate and threw it into the woods, Peterson said.
“We had no idea and weren’t expecting anything at all like that. It’s public property. They were on a public street, they were taking a picture as anybody is allowed to do,” he said.
Peterson said he believes the camp makes the neighbourhood unsafe.
“Based on what happened there, I wouldn’t go there,” he said.
Cpl. Daniela Panesar with the Burnaby RCMP said police are investigating one member of Camp Cloud. No charges have been laid and the man has not been arrested, she said.
She said she believes the man has had previous interactions with police but she could not confirm that.
“He hasn’t been charged, so I can’t provide any information about his identity,” she said.
Camp Cloud member Elauna Boutwell declined to comment on the incident Wednesday morning but said protesters would tell their side of the story at a press conference that evening.
The deadline for an eviction notice given to Camp Cloud came and went without incident on Saturday. Mayor Derek Corrigan has said the city will seek a court order to enforce it.