The article you just read was brought to you by a few thousand dedicated readers. Will you join them?

Thanks for coming by The Tyee and reading one of many original articles we’ll post today. Our team works hard to publish in-depth stories on topics that matter on a daily basis. Our motto is: No junk. Just good journalism.

Just as we care about the quality of our reporting, we care about making our stories accessible to all who want to read them and provide a pleasant reading experience. No intrusive ads to distract you. No paywall locking you out of an article you want to read. No clickbait to trick you into reading a sensational article.

There’s a reason why our site is unique and why we don’t have to rely on those tactics — our Tyee Builders program. Tyee Builders are readers who chip in a bit of money each month (or one-time) to our editorial budget. This amazing program allows us to pay our writers fairly, keep our focus on quality over quantity of articles, and provide a pleasant reading experience for those who visit our site.

In the past year, we’ve been able to double our staff team and boost our reporting. We invest all of the revenue we receive into producing more and better journalism. We want to keep growing, but we need your support to do it.

Fewer than 1 in 100 of our average monthly readers are signed up to Tyee Builders. If we reach 1% of our readers signing up to be Tyee Builders, we could continue to grow and do even more.

If you appreciate what The Tyee publishes and want to help us do more, please sign up to be a Tyee Builder today. You pick the amount, and you can cancel any time.

Support our growing independent newsroom and join Tyee Builders today.
Before you click away, we have something to ask you…

Do you value independent journalism that focuses on the issues that matter? Do you think Canada needs more in-depth, fact-based reporting? So do we. If you’d like to be part of the solution, we’d love it if you joined us in working on it.

The Tyee is an independent, paywall-free, reader-funded publication. While many other newsrooms are getting smaller or shutting down altogether, we’re bucking the trend and growing, while still keeping our articles free and open for everyone to read.

The reason why we’re able to grow and do more, and focus on quality reporting, is because our readers support us in doing that. Over 5,000 Tyee readers chip in to fund our newsroom on a monthly basis, and that supports our rockstar team of dedicated journalists.

Join a community of people who are helping to build a better journalism ecosystem. You pick the amount you’d like to contribute on a monthly basis, and you can cancel any time.

Help us make Canadian media better by joining Tyee Builders today.
We value: Our readers.
Our independence. Our region.
The power of real journalism.
Get our free newsletter
Sign Up
News
  |  
Rights + Justice
  |  
BC Politics
  |  
Environment

Five Arrested at Fairy Creek Old Growth Blockade

‘Protracted stand-off’ predicted. Barred journalists ask court to rule RCMP ‘exclusionary zone’ illegal.

Rochelle Baker 19 May 2021 | Local Journalism Initiative / Canada’s National Observer

Rochelle Baker is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter for Canada’s National Observer.

Five people involved with the Fairy Creek old-growth blockade in a remote region of southwestern Vancouver Island were arrested Tuesday.

The arrests are the first as RCMP enforced a court injunction against protesters who have spent nearly nine months blocking logging company Teal-Jones’ access to various stands of old-growth forest in tree farm licence 46 near Port Renfrew.

Officers read the court order to Rainforest Flying Squad protesters at the blockade’s Caycuse Camp on Tuesday morning and provided people the opportunity to leave, RCMP spokesperson Cpl. Chris Manseau said in a statement Tuesday afternoon.

“During the course of day, several individuals refused to leave the area, resulting in the arrest of five people for breaching the injunction order,” Manseau said.

One person has already been released after being processed at the Lake Cowichan RCMP detachment, and the others are expected to be released by end of day, he added.

At least two protesters had chained themselves to a gate before being removed by police, and more arrests are likely to follow, RSF said in a statement Tuesday.

The Caycuse Camp is expected to continue being the focus of enforcement since the site falls in the RCMP’s current exclusion zone, said lawyer Noah Ross, a member of the blockade's legal support team.

“This is probably just going to be the start of a protracted standoff,” Ross told the National Observer. “I understand that arrests aren’t finished at Caycuse.”

It has been difficult to verify what’s happening on the ground at the camp in the remote watershed. It doesn’t have cell reception, and you can only call out via satellite phone, Ross said.

“They’ve lost satellite connection since the RCMP moved into the area, and it’s been difficult getting in contact with them,” he added.

“So, that may not be the end of arrests for today, and we’re expecting more over the next couple of days.”

Ross said he’d heard there were about 60 people at the protest camp.

Although not all of them were necessarily protesters planning to violate the court order that bans any interference with Teal-Jones' operations in the TFL, he said.

“The RCMP threatened to arrest everyone who was there, whether or not they were violating the injunction,” Ross said.

The identities of those arrested, and if they were violating the court order, is still unclear, he added.

The RSF legal support team, which involves about a dozen lawyers, is standing for any arrestees to be processed, Ross said.

The most likely charges people will face is breaching the injunction, which went into force April 1, he said.

Some arrestees may not want to agree to the likely conditions of release — such as staying away from the protest zones — and will need timely legal representation to get them before a judge to try to limit any jail time, Ross said.

“There will be lawyers that will represent them, whatever the charges end up being,” he added.

Two court applications are underway to overturn the RCMP’s exclusion zone and hope to be heard Friday, Ross said.

One will be made by the Canadian Association of Journalists seeking free access to the zone for media, over hopes to overturn the exclusion zone on the basis of civil rights concerns, he said.

The court initiatives were launched after the RCMP prevented media and other observers from gaining access to a police-designated control area blocked by a checkpoint on Monday.

Protesters had expressed concerns that observers would not be able to watchdog police as they enforced the injunction in the Caycuse Camp — the only Fairy Creek protest camp currently not accessible in the region.

On Tuesday morning, RCMP vehicles escorted a convoy that included approximately 200 protesters, RSF supporter Pacheedaht Elder William Jones, and media to the police checkpoint along McClure Forest Service Road, the RFS statement said.

The RCMP has updated procedures for media personnel wishing to access the controlled area, Manseau wrote in an email to National Observer on Tuesday afternoon.

Journalists can cross the checkpoint after checking in with RCMP communications officers on site and identifying themselves and the outlet they work for, Manseau said.

However, media will still be accompanied to a safe, specified area where they won’t interfere with police operations.

When no police operations are in effect in the controlled area, media can enter the zone freely after signing in at the roadblock, Manseau added.

However, protesters will only be allowed as far as the RCMP checkpoint, he said.

The Mounties have not clarified what area falls into their control zone, RSF said.

But only access to the Caycuse Camp is currently being restricted, while all other remaining blockade camps, including the Fairy Creek site, are open to movement, the squad said.

The RFS wants the province to immediately halt all old-growth logging on Vancouver Island, and keep its promise to abide by the recommendations of B.C.’s Old Growth Strategic Review, spokesperson Kathleen Code said.

“We are proud of all our members, who are willing to stand up for the old-growth forests that a majority of British Columbians want protected, in spite of the personal cost to themselves,” Code said.  [Tyee]

Share this article

The Tyee is supported by readers like you

Join us and grow independent media in Canada

Facts matter. Get The Tyee's in-depth journalism delivered to your inbox for free

Tyee Commenting Guidelines

Comments that violate guidelines risk being deleted, and violations may result in a temporary or permanent user ban. Maintain the spirit of good conversation to stay in the discussion.
*Please note The Tyee is not a forum for spreading misinformation about COVID-19, denying its existence or minimizing its risk to public health.

Do:

  • Be thoughtful about how your words may affect the communities you are addressing. Language matters
  • Challenge arguments, not commenters
  • Flag trolls and guideline violations
  • Treat all with respect and curiosity, learn from differences of opinion
  • Verify facts, debunk rumours, point out logical fallacies
  • Add context and background
  • Note typos and reporting blind spots
  • Stay on topic

Do not:

  • Use sexist, classist, racist, homophobic or transphobic language
  • Ridicule, misgender, bully, threaten, name call, troll or wish harm on others
  • Personally attack authors or contributors
  • Spread misinformation or perpetuate conspiracies
  • Libel, defame or publish falsehoods
  • Attempt to guess other commenters’ real-life identities
  • Post links without providing context

LATEST STORIES

The Barometer

Tyee Poll: Are You Preparing for the Next Climate Disaster?

Take this week's poll