B.C. court grants injunction to keep protesters from blocking legislature doors

The B.C. Supreme Court has approved an injunction that aims to prevent planned future protests at the B.C. legislature. Keith Baldrey explains.

A B.C. Supreme Court judge has granted an injunction to arrest anyone blocking the doorways and preventing the everyday work at the B.C. legislature.

B.C. Supreme Court Justice G.C. Weatherill ruled people are “restrained from intimidating, molesting or interfering” with MLAs and staff.

The injunction gives the Legislative Assembly Protective Services and/or Victoria Police the power to arrest and remove any person with knowledge of the injunction.

“The Police retain discretion as to the timing and manner of enforcement of this Order, and specifically retain discretion as to the timing and manner of arrest and removal of any person pursuant to this Order,” reads the injunction.

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The order also gives police the power to detain and release any person without arrest they believe has broken the injunction. The judge’s ruling prohibits blocking the five main doors of the legislature as well as the access points to the west and east annex buildings.

The injunction comes after hundreds of protesters and demonstrators blocked the doors of the legislature on Tuesday. Many MLAs were turned away from entering the building and some staff have gone to the Victoria police to report being hurt while attempting to enter the building.

Premier John Horgan says there is a plan in place to prepare for expected protests at government buildings in Victoria on Friday.

“Peaceful demonstration is fundamental to our success as a democracy,” Horgan said to reporters on Wednesday after cancelling a planned media availability on Tuesday.

“But to have a group of people say to others, ‘You are illegitimate. You are not allowed in here. You are somehow a sell-out to the values of Canadians,’ is just plain wrong and I want to underline that.”

Indigenous youth and their supporters had been sleeping at the legislature since last Thursday in solidarity with Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs. They left a few hours after the speech from the throne on Tuesday.

Horgan said he was frustrated to see people stopped from being able to access their workplace.

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“People who work here every day — whether they be support staff for the functioning of the legislature, whether they work in ministers’ offices for the Liberals, the NDP — they did not sign on to be ridiculed and pushed and jostled by people when they were just coming to do their job,” Horgan said.

“So that was troubling me throughout the day, and I think all of you felt the same way. I’m not unique in that regard.”

© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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