No charges for Greenpeace aerial bridge blockade

North Shore News

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Twelve protesters who were part of Greenpeace’s “aerial blockade” of oil tankers in Burrard Inlet this summer will not face criminal charges.

The 12 included seven people who suspended themselves from ropes underneath the Ironworkers Memorial Second Narrows Crossing for 38 hours at the beginning of July, and five others who acted as a support team on the catwalk underneath the bridge.

Three Greenpeace protesters hang suspended under the Ironworkers bridge. The protesters aimed to stop oil tankers from Burnaby’s Westridge Terminal from transiting under the bridge and to denounce the federal government’s decision to buy the pipeline project. File photo Cindy Goodman, North Shore News

The protesters began their “blockade” in the early hours of July 3, holding up an oil tanker from leaving Kinder Morgan’s Westridge Terminal in Burnaby.

Police moved in on the second day of the protest and lowered protesters to a waiting police boat over a four-hour period.

Police said at the time the protesters were being removed because they were a potential danger to themselves, were committing public mischief and were jeopardizing the safety of a vessel under the Canada Shipping Act.

On Tuesday, a spokesman for the Crown counsel’s office confirmed no charges had been approved against the bridge protesters.

“After a thorough review of the available evidence” the prosecution service “has concluded that the charge assessment standard has not been met for any of the individuals arrested at the bridge,” wrote spokesman Dan McLaughlin in an email.

In order to approve a charge, prosecutors must be convinced there is both a substantial likelihood of conviction and that laying a charge is in the public interest.

Mike Hudema, climate and energy campaigner with Greenpeace Canada, who was one of those who hung under the bridge, said he was pleased with the news. He was also calling on government to drop charges against other Kinder Morgan protesters.

According to Greenpeace, more than 220 people have been arrested opposing the pipeline project and 15 people have served jail time so far.