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Victoria group starts legal fund ahead of pipeline protest

A Victoria environmental group is starting a fund to help activists with legal costs they may face as a result of their actions.

"We're calling it the Eco-Warriors Legal Trust," said Zoe Blunt from the Vancouver Island Community Forest Action Network. "In case there is legal action around pipelines, tar sands, oil tankers here on the coast ... We would be there to help them with that."

So far there's a couple hundred dollars in the fund, but the target is to raise $5,000, said Blunt. The money could be used for things like bail or to pay for proper legal representation in court, she said. The fund is to be held in trust by Victoria lawyer Catherine Boies Parker.

A Defend Our Coast demonstration scheduled for the B.C. legislature on Oct. 22 doesn't have a permit, said Blunt. People feel very strongly about protecting the coast and with opposition escalating there will be a need for the legal fund, she said. "I think it's very likely."

The Defend Our Coast website encourages people to make it the "largest act of peaceful civil disobedience on the climate issue that Canada has ever seen." Arrests are possible, though the real goal is to raise awareness, it says.

Andrew MacLeod is The Tyee’s Legislative Bureau Chief in Victoria. Find him on Twitter or reach him here.

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