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Penticton protest draws big crowd

Around 150 people from all walks of life showed up for a protest rally held in Penticton on Wednesday.

Young mothers pushing strollers, aging baby boomers and youth on skateboards and bikes stood on a grassy space near MLA Bill Barisoff's office to take a stand against pipelines and tankers and the risk they believe they pose to the BC coast.

"We want the Liberal government to stand with us in our interests to defend our future from being tethered to a dirty energy economy," said organizer Candis Davis. "And we won't stop until we are lying down in front of bulldozers."

The Penticton protesters participated in a province wide Defend our Coast Day of Action,  taking place in  more than 60  BC communities including Osoyoos, Kelowna,  Kamloops and Shuswap.

Wednesday’s action comes on the heels of Monday’s mass sit in at the legislature in Victoria, which drew thousands opposed  to plans to build and expand oil pipelines by Enbridge and Kinder Morgan.

BC residents  are calling on provincial politicians to make a firm commitment to ban tanker expansion on the coast, a move that would stop  the pipeline plans.

After briefly standing in front of Barisoff's office on Riverside Drive on the chilly day, they moved to a roadside location to share their message with  passing motorists.

Organizers including Davis and Julia Pope, from leadnow.ca, stood on top of a van covered with protest signatures, urging those gathered to take action as BC moves into an election cycle.

"This movement that we are part of, this convergence against the supertankers off our coast and oil pipelines carrying toxic bitumen from the oil sands, this mobilization that you are witnessing here in BC is something of national significance," said Pope. "British Columbians from all walks of life are refusing to accept the imposition of a federal agenda through a sham environmental review process."

As the two spoke the crowd took up the chants "our coast is not for sale" and "we say no."

Many carried signs with such statements as "stop oil pollution on our land and coast,"  and "pipe dreams or nightmares."

"I am vehemently opposed to this pipeline and I will do everything in my power to stop it because there is so  much at stake from the salmon to our coastline and environment," said John Henry of Princeton, carrying a sign saying the latter.

Penticton artist Glenn Clark, the owner of the van, said he has turned his vehicle into a rolling protest  because there is a line in the sand that is crossed when they decide to put tankers on the Douglas Channel.

Clark and artist Peter Corbett are involved in a project named Abandoning Paradise that documents through painting the landscape of the proposed route of the Northern Gateway pipeline.

Click the following links for protest stories from other Okanaagan communities:



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