RCMP make 18 arrests at old-growth logging blockades on Vancouver Island

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PORT RENFREW, B.C. — Police arrested 18 people Friday as they continued to enforce an injunction against blockades set up to prevent old-growth logging on southern Vancouver Island.

The RCMP say in a statement that officers on their way to a protest encampment near Port Renfrew, B.C., found a group of people lying down across a forest service road, including several who had locked themselves down, and made 14 arrests.

Two of those people had previously been arrested for breaching the civil inunction granted to the Teal-Jones Group on April 1, and police say they're now being held in custody to appear before the B.C. Supreme Court in Nanaimo at a later date.

They say another four people were arrested throughout the day as police and specially trained personnel removed them from locking devices.

The RCMP say people opposed to old-growth logging had also blockaded a Teal Cedar Products facility in Mesachie Lake west of Lake Cowichan.

There have now been 320 arrests since police began enforcing the injunction last month, including at least 14 people who have been arrested more than once.

The B.C. government approved the request of three Vancouver Island First Nations earlier this month to defer logging of about 2,000 hectares of old-growth forest in the Fairy Creek and central Walbran areas for two years, but the protests are continuing.

Activists with the group dubbed the Rainforest Flying Squad say very little of the best old-growth forest remains in B.C., and the deferrals fall short of protecting what's left.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 26, 2021.

The Canadian Press

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