Police arrested 12 protesters who helped shut down major thoroughfares in Victoria, Nanaimo and Vancouver Monday morning in what they say will be ongoing protests against old-growth logging.
The protest in Victoria sprang up at around 8:30 a.m. Monday as protestors in high-visibility vests set out traffic cones and sat down in the middle of the roadway.
“The provincial government has failed to end all old-growth logging by our deadline of January 9,” read a statement from the group.
‘Save Old Growth,’ the campaign that is behind the protests, is an offshoot of the Extinction Rebellion, which is a civil resistance movement.
“Old-growth forests are the lungs of our planet, and the BC NDP and their corporate pals are lung cancer. There are no jobs on a dead planet,” said Brent Eichler, the president of Unifor Local 950 and an organizer for the campaign.
Busses were forced to reroute, heading to Blanshard Street, while other southbound traffic was diverted at Douglas and Finlayson.
Victoria police said that as of around 11:40 a.m., the protest at Douglas Street and Burnside Road East was cleared.
Seven people who blocked the highway were arrested on mischief charges.
UPDATE | #yyjtraffic is now clear on Douglas St at Burnside Rd E.
Officers have arrested seven people who were blocking the highway for mischief. #yyj
— Victoria Police (@vicpdcanada) January 10, 2022
A similar protest blocking traffic was carried out in Nanaimo later on Monday morning.
The area targeted in the Nanaimo protest was the intersection of Milton Street and Highway 1, and the protest lasted only about 15 minutes, according to Nanaimo RCMP.
Police said two adults were arrested on charges of mischief as a result of the protest.
“Shortly afterwards, the group dispersed without issue,” Nanaimo RCMP told CHEK News.
Save Old Growth said Monday’s blockades will be held every week.
A blockade was also held at the intersection of Willingdown Avenue and Grandview Highway in Vancouver during morning rush hour, which resulted in three arrests.
“Initially Highway 1 off ramps will be blocked every week, and the frequency and scale of actions will escalate until all old-growth logging is stopped,” Save Old Growth wrote on it website.
“The government has an option to fulfill its election promises that have over 80 per cent support, or send nonviolent people on the motorways to jail. Save Old Growth is determined to keep escalating each week that goes by without government response.”