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UPDATE: Tar sands action comes to a close – for today

At just after 4 pm, the RCMP and Ottawa Police Service escorted the remaining 50 people who had crossed the fence off the grounds of Parliament Hill.

A First Nations elder – Terry McKay – did a closing ceremony just before the remaining arrestees were escorted from the Hill to our applause.

More than 200 people were arrested today – most charged with trespassing. All had been told that they would be charged with ‘obstruct police’ (a criminal offence with serious penalties) if they passed over the fence. But their courage moved them to take direct action.

Council of Canadians chairperson Maude Barlow was one of those arrested today and later released with a trespass charge, a $65 fine, and a notice not to return to Parliament Hill for a year.

After her release, Barlow said, “The action on Parliament Hill was a true blue and green event. Today, labour, environmental and Indigenous leaders stood together to push this government to turn away from the tar sands and towards a green energy future.”

Today – the largest climate-related civil disobedience action in Canadian history – was a tremendous success and a continuation of a campaign to stop the destruction of the tar sands and to stop the Keystone XL pipeline.