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Diplomatic Protection Service called over protest

Media release for immmediate release

31st August 2011

Diplomatic Protection Service called as Wellingtonians highlight Canada's tarred reputation

Photo credit: Nick Tapp

Thirty-five concerned citizens demonstrated against tar sands exploitation outside the Canadian High Commission in Wellington today. Demonstrators splashed a 2m2 maple leaf banner with biodegradable fake oil to symbolise the 'tarring' of Canada’s reputation.

Workers inside the building claimed protestors were burning a Canadian flag, and the Diplomatic Protection Service was called as a result. The Canadian High Commission shut down public access to their floor immediately and it remained closed for the rest of the afternoon. A letter from the concerned citizens to the Canadian High Commission was unable to be handed over by this group and was delivered by the Diplomatic Protection Services.

Protestor Liz Willoughby-Martin believed this was an overreaction: “Tar sands are the dirtiest source of oil on the planet. We're not here to attack Canada, and definitely not to burn their flag, we just want to peacefully oppose tar sands exploitation, particularly the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline.”

“We're acting in solidarity with people protesting against the Keystone XL pipeline in Washington DC and around the world. President Obama recently approved the project, which would transport over 800,000 barrels of oil a day across Canada to the United States. Over 595 people have already been arrested during sit-ins oustide the White House, including the well-known NASA climate scientist, James Hansen who recently toured New Zealand.” Willoughby-Martin said.

“James Hansen has decribed tar sands exploitation as 'essentially game over' for the climate. It's ridiculous that the Keystone XL is even being considered.” Willoughby-Martin continued.

Canadian protestor Keely Kidner described her first-hand perspective of the tar sands: "As someone who has lived in Alberta and visited the tar sands, talked with industry, and heard the stories of First Nations People directly affected, I can't help but feel incredibly ashamed of my government. What we are doing is morally reprehensible and not at all in keeping with the image that Canada tries to portray.“

“Canadians need to take a long hard look at what's happening in Alberta and move towards a sustainable future that puts the needs of communities over those of corporations. And we need international pressure to do that."


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