Vandals lay waste to Canadian pipeline site

Violent protesters reportedly caused millions in damages and attacked workers

Violent protesters reportedly left a Coastal GasLink pipeline worksite in Houston, British Columbia in ruins, causing millions of dollars in damages in what the company claimed was a “highly planned” and “unprovoked” assault on its property.

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About 20 vandals cut the lock off a gate late Wednesday night, before entering the worksite and surrounding Coastal GasLink employees, according to a statement issued by the company on Thursday. Some of the demonstrators allegedly attempted to set a vehicle on fire while workers were still inside, while others wielded axes, destroying trucks, sheds, and other property. “Flare guns were also fired at workers,” the statement claimed.

Photos from the site show massive earth-moving equipment lying on its side, trailers hacked to pieces, and other equipment so thoroughly destroyed as to be unrecognizable. The intruders allegedly cut hydraulic and fuel lines as well, leaving Coastal GasLink scrambling to contain the impact on the surrounding environment.

Royal Canadian Mounted Police, who attempted to respond to distress calls from the worksite, were stymied by blockades made up of downed trees, spiked boards, and stumps covered in tar, according to a statement published by the force on Thursday. As the officers attempted to clear the road, they were hit with smoke bombs and flaming torches before the protesters fled, police said.

Despite the weapons wielded by the attackers and the considerable damage done to the worksite, however, no pipeline employees or police officers were reported injured. The RCMP, which made no arrests upon arriving at the site, has asked for assistance in identifying the vandals.

The controversial pipeline has come under attack before, facing multiple blockades last year. Authorities have attempted to enforce court injunctions, arresting demonstrators in 2019 and 2020, but a more recent blockade by one of the local Wet’suwet’en Nation clans stranded 500 workers near the site, leaving a bridge partially destroyed. 

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Police ultimately staged a “rescue mission” to evacuate the pipeline workers, claiming they were nearly out of essential supplies. However, the clan conducting the blockade accused the RCMP of preventing their own supplies from being delivered.

The pipeline is intended to carry natural gas to Kitimat, where it will be processed and exported. However, the project is only 60% complete, and clan elders of the Wet’suwet’en Nation continue to oppose it.

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