Burnaby RCMP preparing to arrest protestor Laurie Embree for violating an injunction order by refusing to leave the trans-mountain pipeline’s Westridge tanker terminal. (Flickr photo)

Grandmother from 108 Mile Ranch arrested in Burnaby protesting trans-mountain pipeline

Laurie Embree, 69, has since been released from custody with promise to appear in court

A 69-year-old grandmother from 108 Mile Ranch was arrested in Burnaby Tuesday morning after refusing to leave the trans-mountain pipeline’s Westridge tanker terminal.

Laurie Embree must now return to Burnaby on June 27 for a court hearing.

In a phone interview Wednesday morning, Embree said she knew what she was doing and is prepared for the consequences.

“I’m totally guilty,” she said. “Of course I did what I did. I’m not going to deny it. And I did it because I felt like I needed to.”

She said she has the right to civil disobedience and shouldn’t be punished for it.

Embree said she and roughly 50 to 60 other protestors arrived at the terminal at 9 a.m. She was arrested just after 11:30 a.m.

She was the only person on the front line who went through with the arrest, she said. The others left when police gave them the opportunity.

“We need to send a message to our government that the world is screaming at us to make some changes – floods, fires, hurricanes, earthquakes, etc. – and we’re not listening.”

She called Tuesday’s protest “a tiny drop in the bucket” but said she hopes more action will result in change.

People can start by doing things differently, she said.

Embree said she has spent the past year installing a large solar array on her roof and a wood fireplace that connects to her ducting system. She also switched her hot water tank and furnace over to electric.

She feels personally responsible for making changes because she said her mother always told her: “If you see something that needs doing, it becomes your responsibility to do it.”

Embree said she has one grandchild that might support her actions, but laughed when she said the others think she’s crazy.

One of her sons works for the Shell oil industry and she said they don’t talk about her protesting because it’s “too difficult for him.”

The group protest and Embree’s subsequent arrest were broadcasted live on Facebook.

Embree is arrested 24 minutes into the video after for refusing to leave, and therefore violating an injunction order read aloud to her by the Burnaby RCMP.

Upon arresting the grandmother, the officer in the video doesn’t put her in handcuffs but rather tells her it’s “a bit of a trek up the hill” and offers his arm for her to hang onto as they walk to the processing area.

Embree said the officers were “really nice guys” and that “they’re getting really used to (the protests).”

Burnaby RCMP said in a media release that the protestor had been given a copy of the injunction, prohibiting obstructing, impeding or otherwise preventing access to trans mountain facilities, and given another chance to leave before they arrested her.

“The primary concerns of the police are public safety, police officer safety and preservation of the rights of demonstrators to their freedoms of expression, association and mobility, as guaranteed by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms,” said the RCMP.

They said they understand that protestors have the right to protest peacefully and companies have the right to work.

Embree could be facing community service, a fine or potentially even jail time.

She said she is quite happy that she would be paying for her fines with the money from her renewable energy investments.


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