Uni Urchin on top of a camper parked in Burnaby Mountain in January.  Urchin refused to leave the site and slept on top of the camper overnight. (Photo: Cornelia Naylor, North Shore News)

Vancouver, B.C.

Water defender may face 60-days in jail

By Ted Alcuitas

A Filipina water defender appeared in B.C. Provincial court today and pleaded ‘not guilty’ to several charges in connection with protests against the Kinder Morgan Pipeline expansion in Burnaby, B.C.

The 30-year old Jean Escueta, who goes by the name Uni Urchin, was arrested along with several other protesters at the construction site of the pipeline in Burnaby last March.

 “Despite the recent news of the KM/Trudeau Pipeline being quashed, the charges against our defenders remain in court. The water defenders are still being sued by this giant company,” said Mildred German, an artivist with PulitiQ and media liason for Uni Urchin in a press release after the court hearing. “There is still no full victory against this Pipeline Project with these ongoing charges,” she adds.

A number of supporters rallied outside court vowing to come out again for Urchin’s next court appearance on September 25.

German could not confirm to  philippine Canadian news.com (PCN.com) whether the September 25 appearance is another trial or a sentencing.

Supporters of Urchin rallied outside court. Mildred German is third from right. (Photo provided)

 

“Water is Life! Everything is connected to the water. The KM/Trudeau Pipeline has violated indigenous rights to their land and water. A gross violation against indigenous sovereignty by the state. Meanwhile, I am facing charges for protecting water. This is why, I pleaded, “Not Guilty”, said Urchin in a press release.

Born and raised in the Philippines, she came to Canada at the age of 8 on the sponsorship of his father, leaving her mother behind, said the press release.

“The impacts of colonization of the Philippines obviously inspire many of our youth to search for their identity and meaning as migrant youth, as people of colour, as settlers in Canada due to forced migration,” asserts German. “As Filipino-Canadian citizens of Canada, we see we are part of protecting the resources here too, including water, which Uni Urchin fights passionately for.”