Filipina face charges for protesting pipeline expansion project in British Columbia

Filipino-Canadian Uni Urchin may be jailed because of her involvement in the protest against the Kinder Morgan Pipeline expansion project in Burnaby, British Columbia.

Uni Urchin has been at the forefront of a B.C. First Nation protest against the trans-mountain project of oil and gas pipeline company Kinder Morgan.

But her support has landed her with criminal charges of mischief, assault of a police officer, and obstruction in the arrest of another protester.

Urchin entered a plea of not guilty.

The charges are related to her “takeover” of Kinder Morgan equipment and her efforts to prevent the arrest of her fellow “water defender.”

Before the court ordered the dismantling of Camp Cloud, a first nation surveillance camp in Burnaby, Urchin went live on her Facebook account several times to document Kinder Morgan’s activities on the controversial trans-mountain project.

The indigenous community and their supporters oppose the expansion of the pipeline, which will run across part of the Coast Salish lands, because of its impact on the environment.

Urchin, whose given name is Jean Escueta, came to Canada with her brother when she was eight years old to join her father here.

She says she changed her name to Uni because it represents universal love and unity.

But despite being a very vocal water defender with the indigenous people, she says she’s still being true to her Filipino roots.

Camp Cloud is rallying support for Urchin.

The charges against Urchin is scheduled for trial next year. If found guilty, Urchin maybe imprisoned for sixty days.

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