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Fairy Creek old-growth protests hit 500-arrest mark

Protesters undeterred as one-year anniversary of blockades approaches
RCMP officers remove a protester from a camp on the Braden Mainline Forestry Service Road on Friday, June 4, 2021. (Facebook photo)

Old-growth logging protests reached a milestone on Thursday, July 29 with the 500th arrest since police began enforcing the BC Supreme Court injunction in the Fairy Creek watershed area.

Police reported that two people, including a minor, were arrested on Thursday for breaching the injunction after being removed from a tripod structure, and a third was arrested after voluntarily unlocking themselves from a device.

According to a post on the Fairy Creek Blockade Facebook page run by the Rainforest Flying Squad, the minor was a 17-year-old Indigenous girl who had spent five days atop the tripod in a location known as Ewok Camp.

All three arrested protesters were processed and released in Port Renfrew after signing release conditions.

Protesters have been camped in the Fairy Creek watershed for nearly a year, and the RCMP began enforcing the injunction on May 17. Of the 500 arrests since enforcement began, at least 29 individuals have been arrested more than once. A total of 361 people have been arrested from breaching the injunction, 109 for obstruction, three for breaching release conditions, five for a combination of obstruction and breaching release conditions, 10 for mischief, four for assaulting a police officer, one for counselling to resist arrest, and one on Canada-wide warrants issued by the Canada Border Services Agency.

READ MORE: Fairy Creek logging protesters may face criminal charges

Despite the arrests and the possibility of criminal charges, the Rainforest Flying Squad is vowing to continue the protests and blockades at Fairy Creek and other old-growth forests.

“There is no lack of people heading up to Fairy Creek willing to be arrested,” RFS spokesperson Kathy Code said in an email to Black Press. “Even the spectre of the Attorney General waiting there with criminal contempt charges doesn’t seem to have dampened the passion. We have elders who were at Clayquot 30 years ago going [to Fairy Creek] to be arrested. People of all ages and from all walks of life are still willing to put themselves on the line and we are forever grateful. In saving the old-growth forests, we are saving ourselves and most importantly, the Indigenous traditions and culture.”

Code noted that Aug. 9 will mark the one-year anniversary since protesters made their stand at Fairy Creek, and said that celebrations are planned.

“On August 9 and 10, there will be a milestone event at the Legislature,” she wrote. “All are welcome. Details still to be determined, but there will be ceremony, music, speakers, a photo installation, etc. We are hoping to attract all those protesters involved in the protests for the past 30 years from Clayquot, Meares Island, etc.”

An art show is also in the works, Code added, as well as a “Sacred Circle Sunrise to Sunrise event” on Aug. 14 and 15, featuring prayers, music, dance and speakers.

READ MORE: Pacheedaht condemn cutting of trees by Fairy Creek protesters

Kevin Rothbauer

About the Author: Kevin Rothbauer

Kevin Rothbauer is the sports reporter for the Cowichan Valley Citizen
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