Five people were arrested as Mounties enforced a court injunction against an anti-old-growth logging blockade on southern Vancouver Island Tuesday.
The RCMP announced Monday that it was temporarily controlling access to the Fairy Creek Watershed northeast of Port Renfrew, enforcing the April 1 injunction that allows Teal-Cedar Products to start logging activities.
The Rainforest Flying Squad, whose members are among those opposed to the harvest, say they were given 24 hours to leave the controlled area or face arrest.
Four activists so far have been arrested by @BCRCMP at Fairy Creek illegal blockades Tuesday. Including these two who chained themselves to a logging gate. Enforcement of injunction is expected to take days @CHEK_News #FairyCreek pic.twitter.com/smhzuxtmep
— Skye Ryan (@SkyeRyanCHEK) May 18, 2021
The protesters have been maintaining multiple camps around Fairy Creek, as well as at cutblocks in the Caycuse area west of Cowichan Lake.
The Mounties set up a checkpoint along a forest service road leading to the Caycuse camp and about two dozen police vehicles moved past it earlier today.
RCMP Const. Alex Berube says “police action” will occur, but a “measured” approach will be used so no one is hurt.
Berube says the police vehicles and other RCMP preparations are to ensure officers are adequately prepared.
On Tuesday, five people were arrested including two who chained themselves to a logging gate.
“They were provided an opportunity to abide by the terms of the injunction and leave the area, or relocate to the designated protest/observation area set up by the enforcement team, or face arrest,” BC RCMP said in a news release.
“One has been released after being processed at the Lake Cowichan RCMP Detachment. The other four are expected to be processed and released by end of day.”
Teal Jones vice-president Gerrie Kotze has said logging plans for the Fairy Creek watershed have been “mischaracterized” because trees can’t be cut in most of it. Harvesting is only planned for a small area far from the San Juan River, he said last month.
Opponents of logging say the watershed is one of the last unprotected, intact, old-growth forests on southern Vancouver Island.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 18, 2021.