British Columbia

Protesters vow to fight on as B.C. RCMP continue enforcement against old-growth logging blockades

Police arrested six more people on Thursday at road blocks set up to prevent logging in old-growth forests on southern Vancouver Island.

At total of 133 people have been arrested since police moved in last week

Police use a jackhammer to remove a person secured to a logging road near Port Renfrew, B.C., during a protest against old-growth logging in the area on Wednesday. (Michael Mcarthur/CBC News)

Update May 27, 2021: RCMP say they have now arrested 133 people, six of whom were arrested on Thursday, May 27. 

Police used jackhammers and pickaxes on Wednesday as they tried to remove a group of protesters who had secured themselves to the ground in a demonstration against old-growth logging on Vancouver Island.

More than 30 RCMP officers were on scene on Braden Road near Port Renfrew as they tried to extract five people who had partially buried themselves in the logging road.

The demonstrators said they were there because they felt a moral responsibility to protect the Fairy Creek watershed's ancient trees from logging by the Teal-Jones Group on certain areas of its 595-square-kilometre tenure on southwest Vancouver Island.

Emily Kane was one of the five arrested at the site on Wednesday.

"We would hope to enact political change. That is what we would like to see — policy change," she told CBC News.

Access to the protest site was tightly controlled by RCMP, who have set up a series of barricades along the road. People describing themselves as legal observers said they were denied access, while members of the media required a police escort.

RCMP are enforcing a court injunction ordering the removal of a series of blockades set up by the protesters.

In all, they say 10 people were arrested on Wednesday for alleged breach of the injunction, while one person was arrested for alleged obstruction.

Police say 58 people were arrested on Tuesday after they gathered along a forest service road west of Lake Cowichan. 

A protester is surrounded by police enforcing an injunction to allow logging by the Teal-Jones Group in the Fairy Creek watershed on southern Vancouver Island. (Michael Mcarthur/CBC News)

The Mounties say 127 people have been arrested since enforcement of the court injunction began last week to allow workers with the Teal-Jones Group to resume logging.

Activists say very little of the best old-growth forest remains in B.C. and Fairy Creek is the last unprotected, intact old-growth valley on southern Vancouver Island.

Teal-Jones has said it plans to harvest about 20 hectares at the north ridge of the 1,200-hectare watershed out of 200 available for harvest.

With files from Kieran Oudshoorn and the Canadian Press


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