Ax Attack and Violent Vandalism at Coastal GasLink Pipeline Site

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Road blocked by felled trees, stumps covered in tar, wire, planks with spikes and lit fires.

Houston RCMP are currently investigating an incident in which individuals allegedly engaged in a violent confrontation with Coastal GasLink employees and police officers along the Morice River Forest Service Road near Houston, Colombia. -British.

On Thursday, February 17, 2022, shortly after midnight, Houston RCMP were called to Marten Forest Service Road (FSR) after Coastal Gas Link (CGL) security reported violence at their workplace.

It was reported that around 20 people, some armed with axes, attacked the security guards and smashed the windows of their vehicles. It was initially reported that some CGL employees were trapped, but all managed to leave the area safely.

During the police response at the 41km mark, the roadway was blocked by downed trees, stumps covered in tar, wire, planks with spikes and fires were set in the debris . As police made their way through the debris and booby traps, several people threw smoke bombs and fired lit batons at the police, injuring an officer.

Photo 2 of a tarp on fire

At km 43, an old school bus blocks the road. No one was located in this area and with the help of CGL the bus was cleared from the road and the police continued on their way.

When police arrived at the rig at the 63km mark, they found extensive damage had been done to heavy machinery, fencing and portable buildings. Police did not encounter any other blockades or protesters as they made their way to the drilling rig and did not locate anyone at the site. The cost of the damage caused is considerable as seen in the photos.

Photo 1 of the damaged machinery

Photo 2 of damaged machinery

Photo 3 of damaged machinery

Photo 4 of damaged machinery

Photo of damaged laptops

This is a very disturbing escalation of violent criminal activity that could have resulted in serious injury or death. It was a calculated and organized violent attack that left its victims shaken and a multi-million dollar path of destruction, says Chief Superintendent Warren Brown, Commander of the Northern District. While we respect everyone’s right to peaceful protest in Canada, we cannot tolerate this type of extreme violence and intimidation. Our investigators will work tirelessly to identify the culprits and hold them accountable for their actions.

RCMP are appealing to the public for assistance regarding the incident. This type of criminal activity and level of violence impacts the entire community, so we urge anyone with information about those involved to contact the Houston RCMP at 250-845-2204.

Coastal GasLink, meanwhile, issued a press release calling the incident a highly planned and dangerous unprovoked assault on its employees.

The statement reads as follows:

In the early morning hours of February 17, 2022, approximately 20 masked and violent attackers wearing camouflage surrounded and attacked Coastal GasLink workers in a highly planned and dangerous unprovoked assault. It happened near the site of the Morice River drilling rig off the Marten Forest Service Road – the location of a former blockade and opposition camp last year which lasted 59 days. This coordinated and criminal attack from several directions threatened the lives of several workers. In one of the most concerning acts, an attempt was made to set fire to a vehicle while workers were inside. The attackers also wielded axes, swinging them at vehicles and through the window of a truck. Flares were also fired at the workers. Workers fled the site for their own safety and remain reeling from the violent incident. Fortunately, the Coastal GasLink workers suffered no physical injuries.

The attackers used grinders to cut the locks off an authorized gate at the active construction site and continued to vandalize and attack heavy equipment and construction trailers on site, causing millions of dollars in damage to the equipment and property of the contractor Coastal GasLink. Equipment hydraulic and fuel lines were also severed, causing dangerous leaks. Damage and environmental impacts are still being assessed. We strive to contain and clean up environmental damage caused by attackers. We also understand that the attackers felled trees, placed tire studs and set fires on the roads in an attempt to prevent access to the remote construction site.

The protection of people and the environment is paramount and we are taking a number of steps to deal with this incident. The RCMP have been called to the scene and we know that a criminal investigation is ongoing. On behalf of our workers, we encourage a full investigation into those involved in the violent attack. The company is also asking anyone with information about the attack to contact the RCMP.

As this situation evolves, we remain in close contact with our prime contractor and workforce. Our work is legal, licensed, fully licensed and has the unprecedented support of local and Indigenous communities and agreements in place with all 20 elected First Nations councils along the 670km route. Coastal GasLink is nearly 60% complete.

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