3 arrests after protesters attempt to block B.C. Premier John Horgan's home ahead of budget

Three people have been arrested after protesters attempted to block the home of B.C. Premier John Horgan on Tuesday morning.

The protesters were with environmental group Extinction Rebellion Vancouver Island, which had been planning to disrupt the B.C. budget, which was unveiled on Tuesday afternoon.

RCMP said they received a report of individuals “disturbing the premier’s family by banging on his door stating they were going to make a citizen’s arrest of the premier.”

Officers found protesters blocking access to the private driveway of Horgan’s home, RCMP said.

After setting up a safety zone, police warned protesters they would be arrested if they did not leave. Police said several people left the safety zone, and officers arrested three people who refused to leave the premier’s driveway.

In a Facebook post published Tuesday morning, Extinction Rebellion Vancouver Island said it stands in solidarity with Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs who oppose the Coast GasLink pipeline and accused Horgan, as well as Coastal GasLink and the RCMP, of “trespassing.”

“We just wanted to let Premier Horgan know what it was like to be invaded,” said Heidi Esinheth, who described herself as a neighbour of Horgan’s.

“Maybe he needed to be invaded in his home to understand what it was like to be invaded in your home. Only we didn’t come with military weapons and we didn’t point sights at anyone, we just laid on the ground in front of his driveway, and it made him very angry. He swore at us.”

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Demonstrator Douglas Prentice, who said he also goes by the name of “Captain Painfully Obvious,” said one of the group’s members was planning to conduct a citizen’s arrest on the premier for “war crimes and crimes against humanity.”

“Which is generally what is a commonly accepted description of an armed incursion into a sovereign nation,” he said, referring to the B.C. RCMP’s injunction enforcement in traditional Wet’suwet’en territory.

“Canada has to be governed by the rule of law, and we’ve got to have an orderly format for protest. You can’t block railway lines, you can’t block a premier’s house, you can’t block intersections for 16 hours or you might as well give up,” said BC Liberal Leader Andrew Wilkinson.

“There’s a huge invasion of privacy that occurs when people cross the line from legitimate protest to aggressive blocking of intersections, rail lines and personal residences.”

Former BC Green leader Andrew Weaver also slammed the protesters’ move, saying they should “separate the person from the policy.”

Extinction Rebellion has made headlines around the world for staging dramatic protests and direct actions.

Six members of the Vancouver chapter were arrested in Vancouver in November during a “funeral procession” after they stopped traffic and erected a platform in a downtown intersection.

In October, the group took over the Burrard Street Bridge for about 12 hours, leading police to arrest 10 demonstrators. Later that month, it led a “snake march” through the downtown core, disrupting traffic.

© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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