Police at an old-growth logging protest say they were outnumbered and there were too many people to hold back as their line was breached on the weekend.
On Saturday morning, up to 200 old-growth logging protesters arrived at the police line on Braden Road north of Port Renfrew.
They were led by the hereditary chief and a member of the Pacheedaht First Nation.
“Yourself and hereditary chief Victor Peter are welcome to come in. It’s your territory,” says an officer in video provided by Ecologyst Films.
When asked if they will also allow their dozens of protesting guests in too the officer says he can’t authorize that.
The hereditary chief and Pacheedaht member don’t agree with their First Nation council that has approved the old-growth logging.
Once police moved their vehicles to let the members drive by all the protesters walked through the police line.
“That wasn’t the deal,” says the officer as the protesters ignore him.
A number of them walk the 10 kilometres to the waterfall camp by the Fairy Creek Watershed.
“We’re going to keep occupying the space as long as we can as long as we have people willing to risk arrest and stand up for the forests, that’s what we’re going to do,” said a protester.
Those being interviewed aren’t giving their full names.
“We’ve positioned ourselves so we are right in line of the road building and of the falling and there’s no way they’re coming around us. We’re right in their way and we’ll stay here until they go back down the hill,” said one protester.
A log buyer with the Teal-Jones group says the company is being unfairly targeted.
“We’ve employed thousands of people with good-paying jobs, you know logging responsibly, engaging with the local first nations,” said Jack Gardner with the Teal-Jones Group. “Every log that we cut gets milled and into products right here in BC and I think that’s important to realize.”
The Teal Jones Group says of the 1,200 hectare Fairy Creek watershed, it’s only been approved to cut 200 hectares and the section is at a higher elevation.
The protesters say they don’t want to see old-growth logging for potential loss of biodiversity. Police plan on arresting more protesters in the area this week.
It came on the same weekend many forestry workers held a pro-logging rally in Mesachie Lake.