WHAT: Greenpeace protestors
WHERE: Energy minister's office WHERE: Energy minister's office
The officers parked at the entrances to the Hearst Block of the Ontario government's 900 Bay Street building Tuesday (June 13) aren't budging - especially not for curious reporters who've gathered here after receiving word that Greenpeace protestors are staging a sit-in four floors up in Energy Minister Dwight Duncan's office.
The scene borders on chaos as cops try to figure out what to do with the seven Greenpeace activists who've chained themselves together to protest the province's plans to build more nuclear reactors.
Police first talk about waiting out the protestors. They'll get hungry eventually, or so the thinking goes. But some have brought food and other unspecified equipment in case Mother Nature calls.
Government spokespeople, meanwhile, are trying to figure out how to control the damage. How did the seven manage to walk past security carrying chains anyway? These spokespeople don't return my calls. Photos taken by protestors on cellphones and sent to news orgs by e-mail show a startled Duncan being confronted by Greenpeacers. But efforts to talk to Duncan directly don't go very far.
"He's offered to meet with us if we're prepared to unlock ourselves," says Dave Martin, Greenpeace's energy coordinator , whom I reach on a cell. "We're not prepared to unlock."
It won't be until 7:30 pm, when most of the media and cameras are gone, that police cut the chains and remove protestors and charge them with trespassing. Point made.
Martin says the McGuinty government's 20-year, $40 billion energy plan that relies heavily on nuclear power is "disastrous. Ontarians want green energy. They don't want coal and they don't want nuclear."
Greenpeace energy campaigner Shawn-Patrick Stensil hints that more actions may be in store.
"It takes 10 years to build a nuclear plant," says Stensil. "This is the start of a long fight."