RCMP arrest approximately 30 logging protesters at Fairy Creek on Aug. 21 (RCMP photo)

Logging protesters pepper sprayed in confrontation with RCMP at Fairy Creek

Protesters claim they were physically assaulted by police

Approximately 30 logging protesters were arrested for contempt of court, including one minor, in the Fairy Creek area on Aug. 21 and a number were sprayed by RCMP with pepper spray.

A press release from the RCMP said that early in the day, police officers were met by individuals who were blocking the roadway and in locking devices attached to an industry gate in the same area where officers have been primarily focusing their efforts in recent days.

The release said there was pushing and shoving and police pepper sprayed a group of protesters when the crowd failed to comply with police directions and became aggressive.

RELATED STORY: 49 ARRESTED IN LATEST SWEEP OF ONGOING OLD GROWTH LOGGING PROTESTS AT FAIRY CREEK

One police officer was injured with a concussion and transported to hospital.

One protester was also assessed by emergency personnel and transported from the area.

Later, as police advanced further up the forestry road, they encountered several obstacles, including individuals in a tripod structure who were arrested.

All structures and debris in that area were also removed throughout the day.

Approximately 7,500 pounds was removed to a gravel lot by RCMP Air Services.

A press release from the protest group, The Rainforest Flying Squad, claimed a number of protesters were physically assaulted by RCMP during the incident.

The release said that not even the Supreme Court Justice Thompson’s ruling about unlawful exclusion zones being enforced seems to have an effect on the behaviour of RCMP who “continue to ignore the judge’s ruling about what is allowable under the law”.

“The RCMP have a duty to enforce the injunction, but they’re systematically going beyond and are trying to break the movement, which isn’t their job,” said Noah Ross, a lawyer for the Rainforest Flying Squad.

“In Canada, police don’t have a right to abuse, torture and injure people, even if that’s what they feel is needed to break a social movement.”

Since enforcement began, the RCMP have arrested 740 people; 56 of whom were previously arrested a combined total of 133 times.

Of the total arrested, 564 were for contempt of court, 147 for obstruction, 13 for mischief, six for breaching their release conditions, five for assaulting a police officer, two for failing to comply with a court order, one for counselling to resist arrest, one for causing a disturbance, and one wanted Canada-wide on warrants issued by Canada Border Services Agency.



robert.barron@cowichanvalleycitizen.com

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Fairy Creek watershed