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Arrests on Vancouver Island over old-growth logging blockades tally 33 on Saturday

Longtime activist Tzeporah Berman one of those arrested Saturday as RCMP continue enforcing court order

More than 30 activists were arrested on Southern Vancouver Island on Saturday, including a prominent environmentalist, as RCMP continue to enforce a court order to allow logging in the area.

May 21, 2021: RCMP officers have arrested at least five people in what could be several days of police actions in remote wilderness areas of Vancouver Island. Protesters opposed to old-growth logging in the Port Renfrew area have set up several forest camps in recent weeks to halt logging, but RCMP have moved in to enforce a B.C. Supreme Court injunction.

This week B.C. RCMP began enforcing a court injunction that orders the removal of blockades set up to protest the logging of certain parts of a 595-square-kilometre area near Port Renfrew. Surrey-based company Teal-Jones Group has tenure of the area, which is about two hours west of Victoria.

The activists, some of whom have chained themselves in place, say they’re protesting the logging of B.C.’s last remaining old-growth forests.

There are currently six main camps, and all are affiliated with the Rainforest Flying Squad. Five of them have been termed “blockades,” while one — the Walbran Camp — was set up to observe logging activity. 

All of the main camps and blockades lie in valley bottoms on narrow dirt logging roads.

On Saturday RCMP Sgt. Chris Manseau said officers arrested six more people at the Waterfall camp for breaching the B.C. Supreme Court injunction order.

Officers trained in high angle rescue also arrested two people who were in a platform suspended from trees hear the Hatten area.

Police say 25 people were arrested out of a group of around 100 who crossed police tape at the Caycuse blockade on Saturday, therefore violating the injunction.

Apr 21, 2021: A fight to protect old-growth trees from logging on Vancouver Island has some activists risking arrest by defying a court order to leave several protest camps. The Fairy Creek dispute has also pitted members of a local First Nation against its leadership.

The group arrived at that camp at around noon on Saturday. Police said some of the people were sitting on the road, blocking anyone from going in and out. 

“And more arrests are pending as they continue to refuse to abide by the injunction and leave the area,” said the release from Manseau.

According to RCMP, 60 individuals have been arrested in relation to the blockades.

Manseau said 47 had been arrested for breaching the injunction (civil contempt of court) and 12 for obstruction.

Of the 47 individuals arrested for civil contempt of court, RCMP are also recommending that two individuals be charged with obstruction, two for possession of stolen property and one for obstruction and assaulting a police officer.

‘Willing to risk everything’

Activists in the area on Saturday said they are motivated to keep up their activities until the province intervenes or the logging companies decide to leave.

“We’re willing to risk everything to protect these ancient forests because in the midst of a bio-diversity climate crisis it’s morally reprehensible to be logging 2000 year old cedar forests,” said activist Duncan Morrison.

Apr 21, 2020: Tzeporah Berman – Environmentalism and Ecological Thoughtfulness

Sgt. Kris Clarke said on Saturday that RCMP are, “taking a slow, measured approach with regards to enforcement.”

“Our ultimate goal here is safety. We want to ensure that everybody is safe and no one is injured in relation to this injunction.”

Among those arrested on Saturday was Tzeporah Berman, director of the environmental organization, who was also arrested for participating in logging protests 30 years ago on Vancouver Island.

“I can’t believe that almost 30 years after massive protests in Clayoquot, we have to do this again,” she said in a written statement.

“But now, there is so little old growth left standing and the government has so far broken its promise to protect what’s left.”

Also on Saturday, forestry workers and their families gathered along a road along Cowichan Lake to show their support for Teal-Jones and the Mounties working to enforce the court order.


Published by amongthefray

News with a historical perspective. Fighting against misinformation, hate, and revisionist history.

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