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RCMP tactical team moves in to remove Trans Mountain protesters from Burnaby trees

Trees have been occupied for more than a year

*This story has been updated.

RCMP tactical team members started to move in Wednesday morning in an attempt to remove Trans Mountain protesters from trees in the path of the pipeline in Burnaby.

Protesters have been occupying trees in the area for more than a year, but more people set up what have been called “skypods” in the past 10 days on land west of North Road and south of Highway 1 in Burnaby.

RCMP read out a court injunction barring anyone from blocking the path of pipeline work.

The NOW is on the scene and officers in tactical gear are in a lift bucket that has been raised up in the area where the new “skypods” were erected recently (see video below).

One person occupying a tree - known as "Big Bird" - ended up rapelling down the tree on his own before being taken away by police.

“Climbers have occupied a set of ‘skypods,’ simple hammocks suspended 20’ above the ground for 10 days,” read a news release from Protect the Planet – Stop TMX. “The stakes are high; serious injury is just one of many risks the climbers are taking. The skypods are strategically linked to various structures on the ground and in the forest canopy with the aim of deterring tree cutting. The land defenders oppose destruction of this urban forest, and are calling for climate leadership in cancelling the TMX and ending the expansion of tar sands.”

Tree sitters have included Maureen Curran, the federal Green candidate who ran in Burnaby South.

Curran says that the tree sitters have feared an attempt to extract them from the trees, adding that this will be difficult for several reasons.

“For one, the canopy is tied up with a spiderweb of ropes, which may deter arborists,” Curran said. “Also the surrounding terrain is steep and thickly vegetated, with no even ground. The treetop camp itself is fortified in such a way that makes the trees difficult to climb.”

Timothée Govare, one of the tree sitters, said in a news release: “Speaking on behalf of our grassroots coalition, we are here for future generations and for the trees; for everyone and for all life. Trudeau may have authorized the destruction of our first two treehouses at Holmes Creek, and authorized the extinction of salmon runs and endangered species along the pipeline route, but we will keep coming back. We won’t back down. Our commitment to delay or cancel construction of this project is unshakable.”