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Dozens arrested in protest against Canada-U.S. pipeline project

(Xinhua)

16:49, September 27, 2011

OTTAWA, Sept. 26 (Xinhua) -- Canadian authorities Monday detained more than 100 demonstrators against a Canada-U.S. pipeline project who crossed barricades in front of the parliament.

Several hundred environmentalists and aboriginals rallied outside the parliament, banging drums and chanting slogans against the planned construction of the Keystone XL pipeline, which is designed to transport Canadian oil to the U.S. states of Oklahoma and Texas.

"Think outside of the barrel!" read some signs carried by the demonstrators, who claimed that the 2,400-km pipeline, whose construction is expected to begin next year, would possibly leak and pollute drinking water aquifers along the route.

Some also contended that extracting oil from the oil sands in Alberta, where the 7-billion-U.S.-dollar conduit is set to start, has polluted nearby rivers and emitted large volumes of greenhouse gasses.

The demonstration was largely peaceful except when dozens of protesters crossed the barricades in front of the parliament building before being quickly taken away by police.

The police said a total of 117 protesters were arrested and charged with trespassing, which carries a fine of 65 Canadian dollars (about 63 U.S. dollars), before being released. Authorities also banned them from being on Parliament Hill for a year.

In a news release issued during the demonstration, Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver said that the government strongly supports the Keystone XL pipeline project because "it is in our collective national interest for the pipeline to proceed."

"Our government will continue to promote Canada, and the oil sands, as a stable and secure source of energy to the world, and will defend Canadian jobs and interests," the minister said.

Oliver estimated that expanded oil sands development will generate over 140,000 new jobs and 600 billion Canadian dollars (about 586 billion U.S. dollars) between now and 2035.

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