Pacheedaht First Nation condemns Fairy Creek protesters cutting trees to slow police

Pacheedaht First Nation condemns Fairy Creek protesters cutting trees to slow police
RCMP say protesters breaching an injunction against blockades set up to prevent old-growth logging on southern Vancouver Island cut down 18 trees.

The Pacheedaht First Nation issued a statement Monday night, condemning what they are calling “the disrespectful and anti-social actions of anti-forestry protesters”.

On Monday, the protest group known as the Rainforest Flying Squad defended the actions of its members who cut down 18 trees with chainsaws and laid the trunks across a road in the Fairy Creek watershed area.

The group says the trees were cut to delay RCMP from enforcing a court-ordered injunction against blockades preventing old-growth logging on southern Vancouver Island.

The Pacheedaht First Nation says those actions are unlawful and are repeating requests for the protesters to leave the territory.

The Pacheedaht First Nation says Hereditary Chief Frank Queesto Jones and Chief Councillor Jeff Jones jointly stated that Pacheedaht First Nation “is deeply concerned about the many negative impacts of the protesters.”

They say by law, no public land trees in the territory can be cut in the territory without Pacheedaht consent and that Cedar is species that has a deep connection with coastal First Nations culture.

The Pacheedaht leaders added no consent has been given to protesters to block forest roads, and the community does not believe the “blockades, violence, vandalism, theft and destruction of the
environment practiced by the protesters offers a productive path towards sound forest management decision making.”

The Rainforest Flying Squad said Pacheedaht First Nation elder Bill Jones, who supports the protest group, does not disapprove of their felling of small trees to protect old growth.

A statement from Jones, released by the group, says it’s common practice in logging to cut down young trees growing at the side of roadways and that’s not a threat to ecology.

RCMP said one more arrest was made Monday, and there have been 495 arrests since police began enforcing the injunction in May.

Authorities say at least 28 were previously arrested.

In June, the province approved the request from the Pacheedaht, Ditidaht, and Huu-ay-aht First Nations to defer logging of old-growth trees in Fairy Creek for two years, to give the three nations time to prepare a forest stewardship plan.

With files from the Canadian Press.


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