Mounties say two people were arrested and charged with intimidation and mischief and remain in custody in relation to an April 20 old-growth logging protest that impacted traffic on the Trans-Canada Highway in Langford.
Officers were called to the highway, north of West Shore Parkway, after a small group of protesters blocked northbound lanes by sitting on the highway.
Most of the protesters left when police arrived, but a man and woman attached themselves to a large metal barrel filled with concrete to “impede and slow down their removal process,” said West Shore RCMP.
“Those two individuals were arrested, however police required specialized officers to attend and safely remove those individuals from the barrel and eventually the roadway,” police said.
Derek Hugh Menard, 33, was charged with intimidation, mischief and failing to comply with the conditions of an undertaking and Elizabeth Helen Stewart, 23, was charged with intimidation and mischief.
Menard has previously been charged with mischief and intimidation related to obstructing a highway in an April 8 protest in Nanaimo.
Menard and Stewart remain in custody and made a court appearance Thursday. Bail hearings were scheduled for the pair on Friday.
Asked why the protesters have been held in custody for two days, RCMP Island District Spokesman Const. Alex Berube said police will not tolerate the act of blocking a highway.
“What we’ve seen in the past created not only a significant economical impact due to the highway being blocked, but also disrupted the lives of many individuals with personal obligations,” he said.
“Under the criminal code, police can hold offenders in custody and bring them before the courts if they believe that those offenders are at risk to re-offend or if they believe that the offenders won’t abide by conditions of release documents. It then becomes up to the courts to decide their dispositions.”
Save Old Growth, the group that staged the protest, is calling on the province to pass legislation that would end all old-growth logging in the province.