KAMLOOPS — Three people have been arrested at a Trans Mountain round table consultation meeting taking place at Thompson Rivers University.
Those arrested are part of the Tiny House Warriors, an Indigenous group who oppose the pipeline expansion project.
Cpl. Jodi Shelkie of Kamloops RCMP confirmed the arrests, and in a news release, says while charges have not yet been laid, the three were arrested for assault and mischief.
Shelkie says members of campus security were allegedly assaulted and property was allegedly damaged after paint was poured on a sidewalk and outside walls.
"The RCMP is an impartial party in the demonstration, we recognize that demonstrators have a right to lawful peaceful and a safe protest, but at the same time we have to ensure that the law is upheld and we need to take action in response to criminal offences," she says.
Handprints in red paint could be seen outside TRU's Campus Activity Centre, as well as splatters of paint on the pavement.
A sign posted on the door to the facility noted the building would be closed for the remainder of the day.
A spokesperson for Thompson Rivers University says the Trans Mountain event was not associated with TRU, but organizers had rented space at the Campus Activity Centre.
Shelkie added the RCMP detachment was aware of the consultation meeting in advance, and had formulated a plan for dealing with demonstrations if they took place.
"We were aware that these hearings were being held at Thompson Rivers University. We had made a plan for what would happen if protesters showed up, and a plan that, if we needed to take action, what would happen," said Shelkie.
"Going in, we always hope that it will be a peaceful protest. We recognize that demonstrators have that right to lawful and safe protest. But at the same time, we have to uphold the law. We did have a plan going in, and unfortunately, we had to enforce it where we had to make some arrests."
Shelkie says investigators are still trying to confirm the identities of those arrested.
In a statement sent to CFJC Today, the Tiny House Warriors identify those arrested as Mayuk Manuel, Snutetkwe Manual and Isha Jules.
According to RCMP, the three had not been charged as of Monday afternoon (Dec. 10).
The Tiny House Warriors say they are oppoed to closed-door meetings between Trans Mountain and "federal bands", and "oppose the use of private security firms and the RCMP, along with aggressive techniques such as those used during the arrest."
In the statement, Tiny House leader Kanahus Manuel says "(Prime Minister Justin) Trudeau must respect Indigenous Peoples’ right to consent to energy projects and our right to say ‘no’. Unless he is willing to do this, any consultation process his government runs will be a rubber-stamp mockery of our rights.”
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