Powell River pipeline protester released from prison

Jo Ann Murray and fellow resident Ron Berezan serve jail time over Trans Mountain Pipeline demonstration

After serving four days and four nights of a seven-day sentence, Powell River resident Jo Ann Murray was released from jail for good behaviour on Monday, November 26.

Murray and fellow Powell River resident Ron Berezan were sentenced for their stand on the blockade protesting the Trans Mountain Pipeline on May 18. They were arrested during a week of protests at the Kinder Morgan terminal in Burnaby.

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Berezan and Murray were among five people sentenced by BC Supreme Court justice Kenneth Affleck on Thursday, November 22.

“When I started this process I wasn't planning to go to jail,” said Murray.

But, she said she would absolutely do it again.

“One of the things is being given the opportunity to speak to the court for all of the people who stood behind me,” added Murray. “We had a voice in the court of law. It's in the public record.”

According to a media release from online site Protect the Inlet, which describes itself as the home of the resistance against the Trans Mountain Pipeline and tanker project, Danika Dinsmore was given a conditional sentence of seven days home detention and 150 hours of community service. Berezan, Murray and Judith Rees-Thomas were sentenced to seven days in jail.

Murray served her time with Rees-Thomas at Alouette Correctional Centre for Women in Maple Ridge.

“We were put in maximum security for the first night. It was harsh, no question about that,” said Murray. “I knew why I was there. I knew the reasons for doing what I was doing and I knew  that it was the right thing to do.”

Murray said she felt she was not walking alone through the prison experience.

“Actually, through all of this protest and arrest experience, I felt supported and convinced it was the right thing to do,” she added. “I was just the voice and the vessel of the message.”  

Berezan is serving an intermittent sentence at the RCMP detachment in Powell River.

“It's not fun but I will say I was treated well,” he said. “There are many things I'd rather be doing, like gardening or walking around Inland Lake.”

Brezan said he has no regrets about his actions that put him in jail and considers what he did an act of service.

“I do firmly believe that civil disobedience has always played an important role in society and that we will look back on this time and people will wonder why we didn't act,” he added. “The reality is, we reduce or we face catastrophe. Those aren't my words, those are the words of the UN  Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.”

The fifth protester to appear before Affleck for sentencing was 85-year-old Victoria resident Joanne Manley, who received a fine of $2,000 and 14 days of house arrest.

Copyright © Powell River Peak


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