A journalist was arrested Wednesday after refusing to leave a checkpoint area near the Caycuse watershed, police say.
Cpl. Chris Manseau of the BC RCMP told CHEK News that the incident happened after members of the media had been allowed access into the camp to witness activities for a brief period of time.
“Once that break was going to be over everyone had to back off because [workers] were going to use tools and they didn’t want everyone in the way,” said Manseau.
RCMP — enforcing a court injunction against an anti-old-growth logging blockade — has controlled and restricted access to the Fairy Creek Watershed northeast of Port Renfrew since Monday. A checkpoint has also been established along a forest service road leading to the Caycuse camp.
According to Manseau, all other media members followed RCMP instructions and left when they were told to except for one journalist who was eventually arrested for obstruction.
“This one journalist wouldn’t back up and stated that he was allowed to be within a certain amount of feet and he was given multiple opportunities to back off,” said Manseau.
Manseau later said the person arrested was not on a list of journalists invited to observe enforcement of the injunction.
Videos posted to Instagram on Wednesday afternoon show a man being arrested after crossing a police line.
Before the arrest, he can be heard telling an RCMP officer “I am standing here at the side of the road, explain to me what I am obstructing?” and “I am willing to be arrested as a matter of principle.”
The videos were posted by an account called FairyCreekBlockade, which is claiming the RCMP are “taking massive liberties” that are at odds with the supreme court injunction issued last month.
“A member of the media was just arrested at Caycuse for standing their ground and refusing to be corralled into an exclusion spot. The RCMP are taking massive liberties at odds with the injunction issued on April 1. The injunction issued on April 1 does not allow for exclusion zones yet they are sectioning off a larger region of the Caycuse without a legal basis,” reads FairyCreekBlockade’s post.
RCMP, however, say the video is not connected to the arrest of the journalist.
On April 1, the B.C. Supreme Court granted an injunction to Teal-Jones Group following weeks of blockades by protesters and activists, who want to stop the logging company from conducting old-growth logging in the area.
The journalist was one of five people arrested at Fairy Creek today, according to a BC RCMP media release issued late Wednesday, bringing the total number of arrested to 12.
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