British Columbia

RCMP make 27 more arrests at B.C. old-growth logging blockades

RCMP enforcement of a B.C. Supreme Court injunction against blockades set up to prevent old-growth logging on Vancouver Island continued this weekend.

RCMP say officers have made 989 arrests since enforcement began around the Fairy Creek watershed

A protester near Granite Mainline Forest Service Road in the Fairy Creek watershed on Vancouver Island, who was arrested by police the week of September 6, 2021. Police say the protester was suspended from a cantilever from a bridge. (B.C. RCMP)

RCMP enforcement of a B.C. Supreme Court injunction against blockades set up to prevent old-growth logging on Vancouver Island continued this weekend.

The Mounties say they arrested 20 people on Friday, who were released in the town of Lake Cowichan, while seven people arrested Saturday were released in Port Renfrew.

They say officers have made 989 arrests since enforcement began around the Fairy Creek watershed, including 110 people who have been arrested more than once.

Earlier this week the number of arrests exceeded those during civil disobedience over logging in the 1990s. The current protests on Vancouver Island have become the largest act of civil disobedience in Canadian history.

Over the weekend police say officers took one of the protesters to a waiting ambulance after the person fell down a ravine and injured their head around 1:15 a.m. on Saturday.

Protesters said in an Instagram post that the person who fell was not seriously injured and did not require treatment from paramedics.

Later Saturday, police say they cleared people out of a few small camps.

They said enhanced evening patrols would continue on Sunday.

Meanwhile, protesters maintain that the RCMP is in contempt of court for how it is enforcing the injunction. In July, a B.C. Supreme Court justice ruled that police had not established that blocking access to the site of blockades was reasonably necessary, and declared RCMP actions were "unlawful."

Old growth logging moratorium

The B.C. government approved the request of three Vancouver Island First Nations to temporarily defer old-growth logging across about 2,000 hectares in the Fairy Creek and central Walbran areas this summer, but the protests have continued.

Old-growth forests outside the deferred areas are still at risk of logging, members of the protest group dubbed the Rainforest Flying Squad have said. The group says the civil disobedience will only end once the province puts in place a moratorium on the logging of old-growth trees.

Since May, the RCMP have been enforcing the court injunction granted to the Teal-Jones Group, the forestry company that holds the harvesting licence in the area.

The injunction is set to expire later this month and court hearings are scheduled in Nanaimo this week over an application by Teal-Jones for a year-long extension.

With files from Chad Pawson.