Mounties cracked down on old growth forest protesters at the Haddon Main and Carmanah Mainline Forest Service Roads near Lake Cowichan Wednesday, June 29.
Enforcement operations began around 8:30 a.m. when officers began to dismantle the camp and blockade that had been re-established there earlier in June in opposition to logging in the Fairy Creek watershed, RCMP said in a media release.
The removal of the camp came after discussions with Indigenous leaders from Ditidaht, Huu-ay-aht and Pacheedaht Nations, following several peaceful but unsuccessful attempts by the First Nations to have the group leave the area to facilitate the resumption of lawful forest operations.
Officers from the Community-Industry Enforcement Group’s Quick Response Team (C-IRG QRT) were dispatched to the scene and took four women and one man into custody for breaching the injunction order (contempt of court) granted to Teal-Cedar Products Ltd. They were all processed through the Lake Cowichan RCMP detachment.
RCMP said that one of the women and the man refused to identify themselves and two of the women are repeat offenders under charge. As such, the four were held in police custody overnight to appear before the court for a bail hearing.
Following the arrests, the officers dismantled the camp.
“Once again, similar to other protest camps set up in the area over the last year, our officers had to haul massive amounts of garbage, debris and harmful chemicals from this encampment,” said Chief Superintendent John Brewer, Gold Commander of the C-IRG. “The environmental damage to the grounds they have caused is appalling.”
Despite the camp being cleared out, Mounties will continue to patrol the Fairy Creek watershed to make sure the roads are not obstructed “and that individuals are exercising their right to peaceful, lawful and safe protest within the terms set by the Supreme Court in the injunction.”