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UPDATE: Old-growth demonstrators arrested, traffic resumes on Douglas Street in Victoria

Southbound lanes from Finlayson Street to Hillside Avenue reopened after Monday morning protest

Seven demonstrators among those occupying a section of Douglas Street on Monday morning and calling for a complete halt to old-growth logging in B.C. have been arrested by Victoria police.

A new environmental group, Save Old Growth, told Black Press Media its indefinite, ongoing campaign to non-violently disrupt highways will see members block off-ramps with their bodies multiple times per week, with actions escalating until all old-growth logging ceases. Following the Monday arrests, traffic resumed flowing along the previously closed-off section of Douglas Street between Finlayson Street and Hillside Avenue.

“It’s what we believe is necessary in order to hold our government accountable for its campaign promises,” media liaison Abbie Sherwood said Monday, adding the moratorium the province has put on certain sections of old growth is not enough.

“There is still active old-growth logging occurring in British Columbia right now, and much more to happen in the future. Those deferrals and moratoriums don’t cover all of our old growth.”

READ ALSO: ‘Just not replaceable’: Old-growth forest supporters march in Victoria for logging moratorium

The group recognizes their blockades may annoy some people, Sherwood said, but a long history of activist movements have shown that writing to government officials and hanging banners is not enough to incite change.

“Our intent is to bring this debate, to bring the saving of old-growth, into everybody’s homes. We want it to be on the minds of every single member of the public in order to build pressure so our government is held accountable,” she said.

By 11 a.m., after about three hours observing the protesters, police approached and arrested seven people who VicPD said were refusing to leave the intersection of Douglas Street and Burnside Road East.

VicPD reported that six of those arrested were adults while one person was 17. The people were taken to police headquarters and later released with a court date and conditions.

Save Old Growth also held an action in Nanaimo on Monday, while other actions were planned for Vancouver and near Revelstoke.

“So, across British Columbia, you can expect – the public can expect, the government can expect – disruption on the Trans-Canada Highway in an escalating matter over the next number of months until we see the action that we are requesting and demanding,” Sherwood said.

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RELATED: New environmentalist group plans to block highway off-ramp in Greater Victoria Monday

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