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Police officers injured in protester arrests at Trans Mountain construction site

Three police officers were injured at a construction site for Kinder Morgan Inc.'s Trans Mountain oil pipeline expansion as they arrested project opponents who stormed construction equipment.

The Burnaby, British Columbia, detachment of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, or RCMP, said three officers suffered minor injuries while arresting protesters near Kinder Morgan Canada Ltd.'s Westridge Terminal, where construction has started on the C$7.4 billion Trans Mountain expansion project. A British Columbia judge had issued an injunction March 16 ordering protesters to stay five meters from the site. As of March 20, Canada's federal police had arrested 59 people.

A man was arrested for being in contempt of the injunction after he locked himself to the front of an excavator that was being transported on the back of a flatbed truck, according to an RCMP statement. A woman who climbed on top of the excavator was arrested on the same charge and is being investigated over other actions. Two people who reportedly tried to intervene in the arrests were charged with obstruction. The arrests took place between 7:30 p.m. and 10 p.m. local time March 19, according to the statement.

Opponents of the project, which would almost triple the Eisenhower-era pipeline system's capacity to 890,000 barrels per day from 300,000 bbl/d, have vowed daily protests through March 26. The line would carry mostly oil sands bitumen from northeastern Alberta. The British Columbia government and First Nations and environmental groups oppose the expansion, which has been approved by Canada's federal government.

In a separate statement March 21, Burnaby RCMP said it arrested 12 people involved in the ongoing demonstrations March 20. Those protesters have been released and are due to appear in court in the coming weeks.