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Letter: Story on logging protest clashes biased

As one of the people who was arrested, I would like to set the record and reporting straight

Story on logging protest clashes biased

Re: “Protesters, loggers clash near Honeymoon Bay; driver hits officer”, (Citizen, July 15)

I was disheartened to read this story written from only one biased perspective. As one of the people who was arrested, I would like to set the record and reporting straight.

I am a grandmother, an upright tax-paying citizen, a retiree, and a land defender fighting to save our old-growth forest from clearcutting.

The story starts by recounting the police version of the Honeymoon Bay incident. This was not just a verbal altercation that escalated to a physical assault. This was an attack on a person unable to defend themselves. A land defender, chained to the gate with only one arm free, was physically and brutally attacked by an irate logger. The logger repeatedly punched the helpless defender in the face, giving him a black eye and numerous cuts and contusions. This brutal attack was witnessed by two 15 year old land defenders, while they were also being verbally threatened by the logger.

The incident at the south ACP is also not reported accurately. A number of us were dancing and singing in front of a security truck parked illegally across the road where the police have set up an illegal exclusion zone on the road to Avatar Grove. The car that drove through that blockade was on the way to bury ashes of a relative of one of the car’s passengers. The driver panicked and drove through since it is a public road. I did not see any indication of the car hitting a police officer.

In fact, it is the same police officer alleging that assault as the one alleging I assaulted him, when in fact, he pushed me when I didn’t move.

Yes I got arrested for obstruction when I refused to let the police through since the road was already blocked by their vehicle that prevents any member of the public from accessing the beautiful Avatar Grove.

Yes, I am trying to stop the cutting of old growth. That does not make me a criminal although the RCMP and the NDP government are trying to frame my actions as such.

The right to civil disobedience is well entrenched in common law and when governments fail to act, it is the imperative of concerned citizens to act.

I will emphasize that the actions of myself and other land defenders is not to stop logging. It is to stop the logging of old-growth forest and the destruction of the rich eco-systems that are part of an old growth forest the destruction of their carbon-sequestering ability.

I would also like to emphasize that every land defender operates from a place of non-violence. Our peaceful protest is met by helicopter surveillance, reckless extraction methods that risk the defenders’ safety, baseless arrests, illegal exclusion zones, and mounting RCMP and logger aggression. Millions of tax dollars are spent policing our peaceful protests and attempt to stop old-growth logging.

In future, please request that your reporters take the time to hear both sides of the story before printing inaccurate details. That kind of reporting does nothing but inflame emotions rather than illuminate the very real issue of WHY we are fighting for change.

Bonnie Murray

Duncan

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