The Canadian government on Friday condemned an attack on a Coastal GasLink pipeline work camp in northern British Columbia, in which police said assailants brandishing axes threatened workers and damaged equipment.
Coastal GasLink, a subsidiary of Calgary-based TC Energy, is building the 670-km (420-mile) pipeline to the west coast of British Columbia to supply the planned LNG Canada liquefied natural gas project, but has faced demonstrations and opposition from environmentalists and some First Nations.
The attack comes amid heightened tensions across Canada, as police in the capital Ottawa started arresting protesters involved in a three-week blockade that prompted Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to assume emergency powers.
“This is truly disturbing,” federal Industry Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne said on Twitter, referring to the Coastal GasLink attack. “Violence and illegal acts are not the way forward on any matter.”
Coastal GasLink said approximately 20 masked attackers wearing camouflage surrounded a work site off a forest service road and attacked workers in the early hours of Thursday morning. They wielded axes, fired flare guns and also tried to set one vehicle on fire while workers were inside, the company said in a statement. No one was injured.
The workers fled and the attackers vandalized heavy equipment and construction trailers, causing millions of dollars worth of damage, the company added.