The Vancouver Police Department has raided an East Side home in connection with anti-pipeline graffiti.
However, the VPD denied a claim by one of the residents of the Parker Street home that the operation was an act of repression against anti-pipeline activists.
“My only response to that would be that we investigate criminal offences,” police spokesperson Const. Brian Montague told the Straight in a phone interview today (June 5).
Montague maintained: “Criminal offences have taken place, and we’re investigating those. And part of that is executing a search warrant to gather evidence to prove those offences.”
The police officer confirmed that five people were taken into custody.
Montague indicated that no charges have been laid as part of the ongoing investigation.
One of the residents of the house is Gord Hill, a First Nations activist who endorses direct action to defend aboriginal rights and the environment.
In a previous interview with the Straight, the Kwakwaka’wakw artist stressed the importance of a strong Native movement to stop oil and gas expansion.
“It’s the only one that really has the capability of engaging in more radical tactics or the willingness to engage in more radical tactics,” Hill said in that interview.
Using a borrowed mobile phone because police confiscated his and his housemates’ devices, Hill said that 16 police officers were involved in the June 3 raid.
“It’s a big intimidation tactic to try to silence the growing opposition to the oil and gas pipelines, and oil tankers,” Hill told the Straight today (June 5).
According to Hill, the operation served “multiple purposes”.
“It’s also like a big fishing expedition for them to come into our house, document our personal effects and activities, and then also to take our communications devices, and disrupt our public communications and organizing work,” Hill said.
Hill edits the Warrior Publications site, and he posted an account of the raid there.