The authorities had to cancel The Energy East hearings in Montreal today because a large group of protesters blocked the proceedings to begin. The hearings were scheduled to start at 9 a.m. ET at Centre Mont-Royal at 2200 Mansfield Street in downtown Montreal. However, demonstrators stormed the building where the hearing for $15.7 billion pipeline was taking place.
Although the hearings started peacefully, it did not take long for protesters to start yelling at each other. The first person anticipated to speak at the hearings, Montreal mayor Denis Coderre was not able to approach the microphone as protesters interrupted. One protestor explained that “there is a perception of bias” because “these two commissioners are part of this democratic institution, which has the sweeping power of a federal court. So a judge cannot go and meet with people in a back room. It just shows this smug elite privilege which is completely unacceptable.”
According to Montreal police spokesperson, Jean-Pierre Brabant, protesters were escorted out and two people were arrested for obstruction of justice and assaulting a police officer. A third person was arrested for obstruction of justice. Before walking out of the hearings, Coderre called the protests a “masquerade.” He mentioned that “there are too many problems we are witnessing to accept the project,” adding that “we’re saying the project (TransCanada) presented is wrong, it’s bad and we don’t have the answers. And frankly one of the main issues is contingency plans, everything regarding safety.”
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