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Raids and rally strengthen resolve of Fairy Creek protesters

Police anticipate more arrests after giving 24-hour warning
Protesters hold their ground during police enforcement at Fairy Creek blockade headquarters. (Fairy Creek Blockade Facebook page)

Protesters at the Fairy Creek watershed area are vowing to continue their fight to save the old-growth rainforest despite a massive raid by the RCMP on Monday, Aug. 9.

Police arrested 33 people at blockades on Monday: 32 for breaching the BC Supreme Court injunction that prohibits the protesters from being in the area, and one for obstruction. Several of them had been arrested previously and were violating their release conditions.

READ MORE: Fairy Creek protesters report RCMP raids on 3 camps

The Rainforest Flying Squad, the group behind the old-growth logging protests, reported that three separate camps were raided on Monday, including their headquarters. RFS spokesperson Kathleen Code said that the camps were still standing “in some form or another” after the police action, and that protesters had been givin 24 hours to vacate the area. Police had also put up a gate on the road to headquarters, establishing an exclusion zone that protesters say is illegal.

“We’re not intending to stand down,” Code said. “We’ve put out the call to the public to come and help defend.”

The raids came as supporters of the blockades held a one-year anniversary celebration on the grounds of the Legislature in Victoria.

READ MORE: VIDEO: Fairy Creek protesters, Indigenous supporters mark one year of blockades

About 300 people attended the rally, which was led by Indigenous leaders and scientists.

“The rally [Monday] confirmed that we need to be there,” Code said. “It really confirmed our determination and resolve to be there, especially with [Pacheedaht elder Bill Jones’s] approval and guidance.”

Police say more arrests are anticipated at Fairy Creek, and that they are monitoring the situation from the ground and air. RCMP air support provided photos of several vehicles being used to block the roads within the injunction area, which raised further concerns for the police.

“The use of vehicles to block roadways is not only a breach of the court-ordered injunction, but creates serious difficulties for the local fire department to access those roadways in the event of a forest fire,” said Chief Supt. John Brewer, Gold Commander of the Community-Industry Response Group.

“I’m also, once again, relaying my tremendous concern about the deep trenches that have been dug up in the middle of the roads to purposefully obstruct their use by loggers and police who are trying to enforce the injunction. The damage created to these roads will undoubtedly hinder emergency crews from providing necessary assistance to protesters and general public in the area.”

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READ MORE: Fairy Creek old-growth protests hit 500-arrest mark

Kevin Rothbauer

About the Author: Kevin Rothbauer

Kevin Rothbauer is the sports reporter for the Cowichan Valley Citizen
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