Dozens of protesters gathered outside government buildings Friday morning in Victoria as an injunction barring people from blocking access, roadways and doors to the B.C. Legislature came into effect.
Supporters of the Wet'suwet'en hereditary chiefs who oppose the construction of the Coastal GasLink pipeline through their traditional territory in northern B.C. have pledged to disrupt government operations across the provincial capital.
The legislature injunction order was granted Thursday in B.C. Supreme Court in response to an application from Speaker of the House Darryl Plecas.
It followed a demonstration earlier this week that saw dozens of people block the entrances to the legislature.
The order gives the officers who provide security at the legislature the power to arrest and remove anyone who is "interfering, disturbing or disrupting … [the legislature's] business ... and proper functioning," including on public roads.
It also bars interference with closed-circuit television cameras.
Plan to shut down civil service
The injunction does not cover other government buildings in the Victoria area, where demonstrations have been planned for this morning.
Activists have said they believe they can effectively shut down the bulk of the provincial civil service for the day, and have promised the protests will be peaceful.
Friday's protest is planned for between 8 a.m. and noon PT.
In an email to all B.C. public service employees, the premier's deputy minister, Don Wright, warned staff about the protests planned for Friday.
He said while protesters have the right to free speech, recent protests have extended beyond peaceful engagement.
"People who merely wanted to access their place of work and provide service to the public of British Columbia were subjected to physical and emotional intimidation, physical blocking of access, and in some instances, physical and emotional abuse," Wright wrote on Wednesday.
"I find this treatment of those serving the public to be reprehensible and unacceptable."
Wright said the emotional and physical safety of all public servants is his top priority, and that no staff will be asked to put themselves in a situation where they don't feel safe.
The province's chief security officer, Paul Stanley, said in a statement that he "cannot comment on the details" of the security plan for Friday.