VANCOUVER (NEWS1130) – Five protesters have been arrested after interrupting hearings in Downtown Vancouver into the Northern Gateway oil pipeline.

They entered the Wall Centre on Burrard Street and refused to leave.

Each scheduled speaker is allowed to bring one guest but Sgt. Randy Fincham says a few extra people snuck in, three men and two women. “A guest of a speaker did go to a spot where they opened a door and allowed these five demonstrators to enter the hearing room and when they did enter the hearing room they were blowing whistles and causing quite a disturbance inside the hearing interrupting the hearing.”

Members of the joins review panel asked them to leave but they refused and were then arrested. (Video link)

Fincham says Assault by Trespass charges are expected to be laid. “Anybody that comes into that hearing that isn’t on the list, if they are asked to leave we request that they do so.  If they choose not to leave on their own accord then they are subject to arrest.”

Dozens of speakers are expecting to have their say at the hearings which launched last night as a huge crowd protested outside.

Randy Burke is among the speakers; he is an eco-tour operator on the north coast. “After this process, any spill on the BC coast is going to get tremendous media attention. Any significant spill will tar the reputation of the BC coast for decades to come,” he says.

“What we’re proposing here is risking the very reputation that British Columbia has spent decades and millions of tourism dollars promoting, namely the beautiful British Columbia coast, full of wildlife,” he argues.

It wraps up on Friday.