Mounties say they arrested more than two dozen people on southern Vancouver Island as officers enforce a court injunction ordering the removal of blockades set up to protest old-growth logging.
Skirmishes have been ongoing since May 17 at the Caycuse blockade on McClure forest service road west of Lake Cowichan.
Activists had raised alarm that logging activity was starting up while two tree sitters were still protesting nearby. Police Saturday extracted and arrested the individuals. One tree-sitter used a zip line to evade arrest for some hours, but was eventually arrested.
Activists and media have also raised questions about the legality of a media exclusion zone, where journalists are kept at a distance that’s determined by police.
Westward near Port Renfrew, six people were arrested Saturday at a blockade there. Mounties say after the initial arrests a group formed around midday, blocking traffic along the road and resulting in the arrest of roughly 25 people.
There are five blockades or encampments on the Teal-Jones tree farm licence area.
Activists say Tzeporah Berman, one of the organizers of the 1990s “War in the Woods” protest against old-growth logging, was arrested during the police sweep.
Mounties say those arrested were offered the opportunity to leave or be arrested.
Activists say very little of the best old-growth forest remains in B.C. and Fairy Creek is the last unprotected, intact old-growth valley on southern Vancouver Island.
Since enforcement began May 17 police say they have arrested 53 people, mostly for breaching the injunction and some for obstruction. RCMP are also recommending two people be charged with possession of stolen property, and one for assaulting a police officer.
— With files from The Canadian Press.
An earlier version of this article stated that 59 people had been arrested, based on RCMP reports that have since been corrected. The actual number is 53, as of May 25.