Opponents of old-growth logging have re-entered a restricted area on southwest Vancouver Island and Mounties have returned to enforce a court injunction that orders their removal.
Cpl. Chris Manseau says the RCMP thought yesterday they had cleared everyone from blockade camps along a remote forest service road west of Lake Cowichan, allowing Teal Cedar Products to resume work.
But he says in a statement that several people returned to the area and attached themselves to structures.
Among those police dealt with Thursday included a woman perched more than 30 meters up a tree. Police escorted the media in to see her. She says she’s been up there four days.
“I’m doing this because I feel it’s the last stand for our ancient forests,” she yelled from the platform.
Police said taking the woman down will involve a technical approach to ensure her safety.
“We do have specifically trained officers with our Emergency Response Team that have specific and extensive training to deal with these kinds of situations,” said Cst. Alex Berube, with BC RCMP.
Police say there were seven others they arrested Thursday. Six of those for breaching the injunction (civil contempt of court) and one person was escorted out with no recommended charges. The 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.
One of those outside the exclusion zone said more will be arrested in the coming days.
“This is the tip of the iceberg. People are rising and it’s about time,” said Laura Mitic, an ancient forest advocate.
Police say since their enforcement began they’ve arrested 21 people; 17 for breaching the injunction or civil contempt of court and 4 for obstruction.
More than three dozen protesters gathered in front of the Environment Ministry offices in Victoria today saying they support those arrested.
Protesters set up camp along the McClure forest service road around Easter, while others have been camping since last August around the Fairy Creek watershed near Port Renfrew, which they say is the last unprotected, intact old-growth forest valley on southern Vancouver Island.
With files from Canadian Press.