RCMP moving protesters away from site of Trans-Canada Highway realignment

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NEW HAVEN, P.E.I. - RCMP arrested four protesters opposed to logging at a Prince Edward Island highway construction site on Friday as harvesting machinery moved into the area.

Sgt. Andrew Blackadar says officers approached protesters who had set up an encampment in a grove of hemlock trees and asked them to leave during the afternoon.

He says the contractor at the site 30 kilometres west of Charlottetown planned to start cutting the area.

Blackadar says one person was arrested immediately at the campsite and three others were arrested later.

He said all were given trespassing tickets and then released.

The opponents of the $16-million realignment of the Trans-Canada Highway say it cuts through forest and private lands.

The province says on its website that the realignment is needed for safety reasons because of the high accident rate on the highway with tight turns and steep hills.

One of the protesters, Catherine Russell, 45, of Charlottetown, says she was arrested and given a ticket after she refused to leave an encampment in the path of the harvesters.

Russell says the arrival of the RCMP caught the protesters off guard, as many had left the area to take a break.

"No sooner was I walked out of the site than I saw a tree cutter start cutting trees," she said.

Blackadar says that police had to move the protesters to ensure the safety of the construction site.

Organizations: RCMP, Trans-Canada Highway

Geographic location: Prince Edward Island, Charlottetown, NEW HAVEN

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