VICTORIA – Police say five people have been arrested following a protest at the British Columbia legislature.
Victoria police say the five were taken into custody at about 9 p.m. Wednesday and each faces a charge of mischief.
Police say there were no injuries in the arrests and they alleged the protesters called for others to surround the legislature building.
They say officers were “actively obstructed” and because of the size of the crowd, it took several hours for the protesters to be safely transported to police headquarters.
In a video Facebook post, one of the protesters said a group had occupied the legislature building after a meeting with Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation Minister Scott Fraser.
Earlier in the day, Premier John Horgan questioned what is being achieved by ongoing anti-pipeline protests in support of the Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs at the legislature, where dozens of people have been camped out.
Horgan made the comments following a rally by University of Victoria students who walked out of classes to attend the gathering in support of the hereditary chiefs. About 250 students were at the legislature to support the campers who say they will stay until pipeline company Coastal GasLink leaves traditional Wet’suwet’en territories in northwest B.C.
Police say their investigation is continuing and the five arrested people were released on conditions that they stay away from the legislature grounds and a surrounding park.
“Officers who were responding to the scene were surrounded by over 100 protesters and were unable to respond to emergency calls for service,” police said in a news release.