CALGARY - At least four people are facing charges after several Greenpeace protesters rappelled from the top of the Calgary Tower to hang a banner slamming the oil industry.
The aerial acrobatics began around 9:30 a.m. Tuesday when the climbers draped a banner that said "Separate Oil and State" across the tourist attraction's bulbous observation deck.
The protest came to an end about two hours later when the last of the climbers clambered back to the top of the 200-metre tower and was taken into custody.
Police blocked off several blocks around the site while the protesters hung from the top.
Greenpeace spokeswoman Jessica Wilson said the protest was to outline "the cosy relationship" oil companies have with the federal and provincial governments that "allows companies to self-monitor in the oilsands."
Last week, Greenpeace protested in Vancouver at the office of Enbridge Inc. (TSX:ENB) and demanded the company halt plans to build a pipeline from Alberta to British Columbia. The group said a three-million-litre oil spill from the company's pipelines into a Michigan river was an example of what could happen in B.C.
Three weeks ago, Israeli police arrested 17 Greenpeace activists after they infiltrated an Israeli power station by sea to protest the use of coal to fuel power plants.
Last September, Greenpeace members in kayaks and canoes unfurled a massive banner that said "Dying for Climate Leadership'' across the Athabasca River beneath a bridge linking two Suncor oilsands sites north of Fort McMurray, Alta. At the same time, protesters climbed up on a conveyor belt used to take bitumen to the upgrader. All were arrested and charged.
Greenpeace mounted a similar demonstration at a massive Shell (NYSE:RDS.D) oilsands operation shortly after that. Two dozen environmental activists from Canada, France and the United States snuck onto the property and chained themselves to giant earth-moving equipment. That protest ended peacefully after 31 hours with an agreement that there would be no charges or arrests.
In July 2008, Greenpeace protesters gained access to Syncrude's Aurora mine site near Fort McMurray, Each was fined for trespassing.
In July 2001, two Greenpeace activists scaled Toronto's CN Tower in an attempt to draw attention to the issue of climate change.
Two activists do their part to spread the message at the base of the Calgary Tower.
Firefighters mill about at the tower base, waiting for activists to rappel down or climb back up.