A federal security officer wanted a building on the campus of Thompson Rivers University locked down in 2018 after Tiny House Warriors protestors attempted to storm a high-level meeting about the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, a judge has been told.
Nicole Manuel, Chantel Manuel and Isha Jules, members of the Tiny House Warriors, are facing charges of mischief, causing a disturbance and assault stemming from an altercation with security and police personnel outside a Dec. 10, 2018, meeting about the ongoing Trans Mountain expansion project.
The three accused are alleged to have intentionally spilled red paint and attempted to rush into the private meeting, which was taking place in the rented Grand Hall at TRU. Present at the meeting were federal politicians, area First Nations leaders and representatives from Natural Resources Canada and Trans Mountain.
Pier-Olivier Poulin was working as a security officer for Natural Resources Canada at the time. Testifying on Wednesday, he said he arrived in Kamloops the day before the meeting and conducted a site visit.
On the morning of the meeting, he said he was present alongside Trans Mountain security officers, private security guards hired for the event and the RCMP’s DLT team — a specialized police unit to deal with protestors.
Poulin said protestors began making noise outside the meeting at about 9 a.m.
Poulin described taking a position outside the doors to the Grand Hall inside the Campus Activity Centre. He said he was rushed by a male protestor — alleged to be Jules — and body-checked into the door, which then opened.
“He threw a pot of red paint on me and ran to get in the room,” Poulin said in Kamloops provincial court, testifying via video from Ottawa.
“I went to call RCMP because I saw two security — Trans Mountain security folks — they went inside the room. I went to call the RCMP to request help.”
Poulin said the red paint thrown in his direction struck him.
“I got some on my arm and on my chest,” he said. “It got the door behind me and the carpet.”
Poulin said he immediately contacted the venue manager to place the building on lockdown to stop any further protestors from gaining access to the meeting.
Jules and the Manuel sisters were arrested a short time later and escorted from the building. Poulin said the meeting continued following the arrests.
Poulin said the red paint ruined his $700 suit.
“It got damaged and the paint could not be taken off,” he said.
Court has been shown a number of videos recorded inside the Campus Activity Centre during the protest. Protestors can be heard yelling, and seen unfurling a banner opposing work camps.
The Tiny House Warriors are a First Nations protest group opposed to the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion.
The trial is expected to last one week.