A hearing regarding the status of the construction of the controversial Energy East Pipeline in Canada was suspended on Monday at the orders of Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre after a group of protestors disrupted a meeting on the issue, according to Canada’s National Energy Board.
“The Energy East Montreal Panel Session is suspended for today,” NEB Canada posted on Twitter.
CBC News reported that one of the protestors barged into the room and almost knocked over a table near which several NEB commissioners had been seated.
The commissioners left the meeting room soon afterwards, and police officers entered to remove the protestors. Three other demonstrators – two male, one female – have been arrested, according to Constable Jean-Pierre Brabant.
The mayor had been scheduled to speak first at the hearing, but he cancelled his appearance shortly prior to the time he was due, calling the event a “circus” because of the protestors’ actions.
Almost 200 people had gathered outside the Centre Mont-Royal, the building in which the meeting had been taking place, according to a report by Sputnik News.
Some supported the line’s construction, including those from a contingent of the Canadian Piping Trades Union Local 144, who chanted “We want to work” near the government building.
Demonstrators against the new pipeline chanted, “We want to drink water!” in response to the Union group’s incantations.
“Leave the resources in the ground,” Montreal resident Emily Drysdale told CBC while holding up a sign that said “no pipeline.” “It’s the big multinational companies that are making money on the oil.”
If completed, the 2,858-mile pipeline, spanning from Alberta to New Brunswick, would be the longest tar sands underground line ever built in North America.
An environmental advocacy group opposed to the pipeline released a report in April identifying risks posed by the facility’s construction and maintenance. The line would cross almost 3,000 waterways, endangering the clean water supplies of almost 5 million Canadians.