Burnaby police are investigating after two pro-pipeline advocates were allegedly assaulted on Burnaby Mountain Monday evening.
Andrew Mann, a volunteer with resource sector lobby group Suits and Boots, said he went to the gates of the Trans Mountain pipeline tank farm Monday evening to scope it out for a demonstration planned for later that week.
He said he did not intend to speak with anyone at Camp Cloud, the anti-pipeline encampment that has grown in recent months.
But, he said, he was accosted by camp members after taking pictures of the camp and they accused him of taking pictures of individual protesters and their sacred fire.
A heated argument between Mann and the protesters was recorded in a video taken by Mann’s fiancee and shared with the Now.
“Take off. You have no right here,” one man tells Mann.
Another protester then attempts to block Mann’s fiancee from recording the video and she can be heard telling him not to touch her.
Mann said the same protester later attempted to “joust” him with an aluminum road sign stand.
“So my fiancee and I, [realized] two of us are not going to fight 12 of them and we might as well just leave,” Mann said. “We go to our car, we put it in reverse to leave and that guy with the baseball cap rips my licence plate off my car, tries to rip off my rear wiper [and] throws my licence plate into the bush.”
Unable to drive away legally without a licence plate, Mann said he decided to call the police.
Burnaby RCMP officers soon showed up and took statements, Mann 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.
Suits and Boots is a recently formed pro-pipeline group led by Rick Peterson, a former candidate for leader of the Conservative Party of Canada.
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.
“We had no idea and weren't expecting anything at all like that,” Peterson said, referring to the reaction from protesters. “It's public property. They were on a public street, they were taking a picture as anybody is allowed to do.”
Peterson said he believes the camp makes the neighbourhood unsafe.
“Based on what happened there, I wouldn't go there,” he said.
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.