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Conservation North supporters in Prince George have rallied in support of the Fairy Creek blockades. Conservation North is also battling the ministry of forests and forest companies over the relentless loss of old-growth forest in the Inland Temperate Rainforest. If blockades are going to spread, this will likely be one of the places that happens. Here's photos from their recent rally:
People around BC are finding the time and the ways to support the Fairy Creek forest defenders. This is Emma Calista Atkinson in Revelstoke.
May 26, 2021, continued A coalition of media outlets and press freedom groups filed an application in BC Supreme Court today, asking a judge to order the RCMP to provide journalists with reasonable access to police enforcement actions taking place in and around Fairy Creek and Caycuse camps. The broad use of exclusion zones is questioned as it interfere’s with the media’s ability to inform the public about what is happening. RCMP have been forcing media to stay far away from arrests being made. FOCUS will report more on this in the coming days.
12:22, May 26, 2021 The Rainforest Flying Squad reports • from Caycuse, Ditidaht territory: We have heard that "Keys" was taken from the tree-sit, and that RCMP plan to extract all the remaining tree-sitters today. • While at Fairy Creek, Pacheedaht Territory: 30 RCMP vehicles are at 2000 Road now.
10:30 am, May 26, 2021 FOCUS updates Last night at 10:19 pm, Corporal Manseau wrote to say that “In order to avoid a repeat of what occurred today when an operational need to change locations occurred, I am asking that all interested media parties remain flexible, and I will commit to putting out an email update tomorrow by 8:30a.m.” At 9:26 am, he emailed that planned enforcement “will take place in the Port Renfrew area.” Media were requested to meet at 10:30 am in a parking area approximately 2kms past Port Renfrew on Pacific Marine Road to rendezvous with the media liaison officers for escort. The distances, given the late notice, will make it difficult for many media to get there in time. Rainforest Flying Squad reported at 9:32 am that “14 police vehicles and 2 vans have left the station at Cowichan Lake.” They had also had a report that “50 or more, many unmarked police vehicles, are leaving Cowichan. They don’t seem to be going to Caycuse.” It’s not totally clear how many were arrested yesterday, but it could be close to three dozen, making it the busiest day so far. Arrests were made mostly in the Caycuse area. (Media had been directed to the Port Renfrew area.) Shown below are a couple of photos of the Elders convoy who visited 2 blockades in the Fairy Creek area yesterday. Many were willing to risk arrest, but the RCMP let them into the exclusion zone without charge. From 75-100 elders attended. See entry below from yesterday afternoon for more details on the convoy. Elders attend Fairy Creek blockades, May 25 (Photo by Marnie Recker) Elders attend Fairy Creek blockades, May 25 (Photo by Marnie Recker)
4:49 & 6:10 pm, May 25, 2021 Report from Rainforest Flying Squad, Caycuse, Ditidaht Territories RCMP showed people where they could peacefully protest, and everyone was in that area. Then police went in and started arresting leaders, legal observers and our police liaisons. Three to six people at a time were escorted out. About two dozen people were removed and arrested, and we were told about 15 more were being held there and told they would be arrested imminently. One witness said she didn't recognize any of the RCMP from any of the previous situations. Many protestors' vehicles were towed away, some to Tiger Towing, some were left about 3 kms away. RCMP have told people they can go and get them, although Teal Jones may charge them for the tow. We also heard some protestors' tires were punctured.
2:05 pm, May 25, 2021 Rainforest Flying Squad reports • We are asking media to attend the Caycuse exclusion zone checkpoint, where RCMP had corralled about 3 dozen people. About one-third have been arrested and removed, but it seems they're taking hours in between. Some media have been penned off to one side, with everyone else in another area. No one is allowed to go anywhere and vehicles are being towed off-site without warning. • A convoy of 30 elders is approaching an active blockade at the bottom of Braden Maine on Gordon River Road. The elders have been invited by Pacheedaht Elder Bill Jones. This area is home to some of the last stands of old-growth forest on southern Vancouver Island. Some of the seniors are willing to risk arrest to show their support for the protesters who are blocking the logging of the last old growth forest at several blockade sites. Why get arrested? Their reasons are varied. 76-year-old Jackie Larkin feels betrayed. “This government has lied to us about their willingness to protect old growth. It’s my responsibility to stand with the ancient trees and against the forestry companies and chainsaws that destroy precious ecosystems.” Joanne Manley, now 88, was arrested 28 years ago in Clayoquot. She’s saddened nothing seems to have changed: “Writing letters and phoning the government hasn’t helped so far, so here I am, standing with the few trees that remain, hoping the government will finally come to its senses.” The circle of elders will drive in convoy to the Fairy Creek area, assembling at the Park-and-Ride in Sooke, knowing that they face possible arrest, fines and jail time. Susan Gage, one of the group organizers, reflects that it’s not fair that younger people, indigenous and non-indigenous, have to be the ones fighting for environmental sustainability. “We want to show that we, as elders, stand with these brave young people, who are trying to reveal the insanity of mowing down these ancient trees and the unique temperate rainforest ecosystem sustained by these mother trees.”
Morning, May 25, 2021 FOCUS reports FOCUS photojournalist Dawna Mueller, acting on the below instructions from the RCMP, proceeded to the Port Renfrew area on Tuesday, May 25th morning. But the RCMP failed to appear. She managed to get a message to the editor of FOCUS. On inquiry to Corporal Manseau, FOCUS received the following reply by email: “Enforcement was planned for the Port Renfrew area but circumstances have changed and members are again in the Caycuse area, where enforcement started last week.” In a subsequent email, he elucidated: “Those plans literally changed based on the actions of protesters in the Caycuse area that were unexpected. Our plans had been to continue enforcement in the Port Renfrew area up until that moment. I apologize for the inconvenience.” It is a long, bumpy ride along logging roads from Port Renfrew to Caycuse. One would normally go from Victoria through Lake Cowichan to get to the latter. So it is unclear whether media will be able to get to Caycuse today. According to the Rainforest Flying Squad at 10:36 am, “People are being arrested right now at a ‘temporary exclusion zone’ at Caycuse.” —Leslie Campbell, editor
9:34 pm, May 24, 2021 Email to media from Corporal Chris Manseau, BC RCMP Tomorrow, Tuesday May 25, 2021, enforcement of the BC Supreme Court injunction order is again planning on continuing. As operations are still being developed, the exact location of the enforcement has yet to be determined. I ask that you again please meet our Media Relations Officers in the Port Renfrew area, this time at 9:30a.m. They will be waiting in the same gravel pull out/ parking area approximately 2kms past Port Renfrew on Pacific Marine Rd (across from the entrance to the Port Renfrew Marina & RV Park). You will be asked to sign in with identification and contact information. At approximately that time (or before) the RCMP Relations Officers will be informed where enforcement will be scheduled to take place and you will be invited to travel to the enforcement area led by our Media Relations Officers. They will then escort you into a designated area for media. Every reasonable effort will be made to allow you to get as close as possible to the enforcement area, while ensuring no interference with police operations. Plenty of time will be provided to you in the area to ensure that you have opportunity to document and report on actions as they occur. Due to timing and logistics, these plans may vary. We cannot guarantee you access if you are not there on time tomorrow, but we will ensure we provide ample notice if meeting times change. I will not be able to provide further information on the anticipated plans for tomorrow or subsequent days ahead.
Afternoon, May 24, 2021 Trees for Tomorrow demonstration at Legislature Trees for Tomorrow, a newly founded initiative led by youth, organized a demonstration, standing in solidarity with Indigenous land defenders after a call out for organized action from frontline activists. “We as organizers, youth, and allies demand action towards the protection of old-growth forests for current and future generations,” said Mischa Arbess. Trees for Tomorrow demonstration at Legislature (photograph by Dawna Mueller)
Afternoon, May 24, 2021 Rainforest Flying Squad updates: • There have been four or five arrests at Waterfall Camp today. RCMP have reportedly left the area now. • There is or was a police line blocking people at Reid and Braden. There was not much media there. We are not sure if RCMP have also left this site. • Forest defenders set up a blockade at 2000 Road this morning. The area was an active work site for logging old growth up until the morning of May 17th, when the first blockade there was set up. Work was stopped for four days until arrests on May 21. About 30 RCMP vehicles attended Road 2000 this morning. There are no reports of exclusion zones. Is this level of police presence and illegal exclusion zones really necessary to dismantle the camps of peaceful civil disobedience activists? • A supporter sent the following message: “I spoke to RCMP spokesperson Corporal Chris Manseau this morning and got a better understanding of who is in charge of the operation. It’s not Lake Cowichan RCMP at all. The RCMP used for enforcement come from all over the province. The person in command comes from RCMP Headquarters in Surrey. His name is Dave Attfield…He was the Gold Commander who oversaw the raid at the Wet’suwet’en Access Point on Gidimt’en Territory. Remember that?”
May 24, 11 am, BC Legislature Parents Support Land Defenders Parents4Climate created a forest on the lawn of the Legislature on Monday to show solidarity for Indigenous sovereignty and Old Growth Forest defenders at the Fairy Creek Blockades. “Having spent time at the Fairy Creek Headquarters camp in the past few weeks, we can attest to the deep commitment of the land defenders who have spent so many days keeping watch and putting their bodies and spirits on the line for our ancient forests,” says Kate Lawes, Parents4Climate (P4C) member. “Since we’re currently unable to go there ourselves, we want to support, in any way we can, the land defenders and the old growth forests they have protected for more than 280 days.” The symbolic “planting” of cardboard trees will be from 11am-1pm and follow all public health and safe distancing protocols. We would like to acknowledge that this event will take place on the unceded territory of the Lekwungen speaking peoples. https://www.facebook.com/parents4climate/ Parents 4 Climate is a local group of committed, loving parents on Lekwungen territory, united around the basic sense of duty every parent feels to ensure that our children have a healthy planet to grow and live on.
12:20, May 24, 2021 Updates from the Rainforest Flying Squad: Fairy Creek, Pacheedaht territory: • 17 RCMP vehicles have arrived at Fairy Creek, including a large paddy wagon. There is an exclusion zone being set up at Fairy Creek. • We understand that RCMP have been using the letter issued by the Pacheedaht last month to tell people that the Pacheedaht do not want them on their territory. The origins of that letter may be in question. Please note the following paragraphs from the revenue-sharing agreement the Pacheedaht have with government: ARTICLE 11 -ASSISTANCE 11 11.1 Non-interference. Pacheedaht First Nation agrees it will not support or participate in any acts that frustrate, delay, stop or otherwise physically impede or interfere with provincially authorized forest activities. 11.2 Cooperation and Support. Pacheedaht First Nation will promptly and fully cooperate with and provide its support to British Columbia in seeking to resolve any action that might be taken by a member of First Nation that is inconsistent with this Agreement. • Pacheedaht Elder Bill Jones was stopped by police today as his car approached Fairy Creek. He told officers that “The pretender chief, Frank Jones, and the elected chief are not the final authority here. They're acting out of their own pretensions. They are not being guided by our... cultural laws,” he told police. “You are invading the territory of our hereditary chief. Frank Jones is not from here, he’s from Terrace,” so he would not be high up on the list of those eligible for the position of hereditary chief. A witness said RCMP told Elder Bill that he would be arrested if he didn't get off the road. A supporter took him home. Fairy Creek has been a place of refuge and spirituality for Elder Bill his whole life. • Earlier there was a large group of angry pro-industry people at Braden and 2000 Road at the back of Fairy Creek. They have now left. Caycuse, Ditidaht territory: There is still a tree-sitter at Caycuse. He is fasting until all old-growth trees are protected. Trees are being cut down around him, some so close that debris is falling on him as they go down. There are a few RCMP and a helicopter. Elsewhere: Statement on cut brake line We have heard police are investigating a cut brake line on a logging truck. Kathleen Code, a spokesperson for Rainforest Flying Squad, said, “We assure the public that our group of nonviolent forest defenders would never contemplate such an action. We stand on the time-honoured principle of non-violent civil disobedience to express our grief and anger at the loss of these majestic trees and the rich ecosystems they provide. What we have already lost is unimaginable. But we would never intentionally harm a forestry worker or a police officer, even if we don't agree with what they're doing. “If there is someone out there that believes cutting an innocent person's brake line would somehow help, I urge them to take responsibility and to desist. Please do not ‘help’ us in that way. Violence and endangering others is not what we're about. Some of our forest defenders are risking their own lives and freedom for this cause. “We are a movement that is peaceful, honourable and immovable. Nonviolent supporters are welcome and encouraged to join us in either urging the government for an immediate moratorium on old-growth logging, or standing with us to protect these ancient forests. Please come.”
9:33 pm, May 23, 2021 Email to media from Corporal Chris Manseau of the BC RCMP: Tomorrow, Monday May 24, 2021, enforcement of the BC Supreme Court injunction order is again planning on continuing. As operations are still being developed, the exact location of the enforcement has yet to be determined, however, I have been assured that it will again be near Port Renfrew. I ask that you again please meet our Media Relations Officers in the Port Renfrew area, this time at 9:45a.m. They will be waiting in the same gravel pull out/ parking area approximately 2kms past Port Renfrew on Pacific Marine Rd (across from the entrance to the Port Renfrew Marina & RV Park). You will be asked to sign in with identification and contact information. At approximately that time (or before) the RCMP Relations Officers will be informed where enforcement will be scheduled to take place and you will be invited to travel to the enforcement area led by our Media Relations Officers. They will then escort you into a designated area for media. Every reasonable effort will be made to allow you to get as close as possible to the enforcement area, while ensuring no interference with police operations. Plenty of time will be provided to you in the area to ensure that you have opportunity to document and report on actions as they occur. Due to timing and logistics, these plans may vary. We cannot guarantee you access if you are not there on time tomorrow, but we will ensure we provide ample notice if meeting times change. I will not be able to provide further information on the anticipated plans for tomorrow or subsequent days ahead.
May 22, 2021 Downtown Victoria action in solidarity with old-growth defenders: Tasha Diamant, chained to statue of Captain Cook, Government Street, Victoria (photograph by Dawna Mueller) Tasha Diamant, 59, is a mother of two teenagers, an artist, and a former university professor. Says Diamant: “When Captain Cook arrived in the late 1700s, some of our trees that people are getting arrested for protecting were already ancient! That blows my mind.” “We cannot lose another inch of ancient forest when almost nothing is left. I’m doing nonviolent civil disobedience in solidarity with all those forest protectors getting unjustly arrested.” “I’m chained to Captain Cook who is one of the guys who led us to where we are today. A situation where we have to fight our own British Columbia and Canadian governments to save the last 3% of ancient forests in BC.” “I have two daughters and it’s my job as a mom to model responsibility and ethics. As a person living with Stage 4 cancer, I may not have a lot of time. I’m extremely anxious about getting arrested but I strongly believe that those of us with privilege must risk arrest to expose the real criminals.” Follow @urbanactionsforancientforests on Facebook and @urban_actions4ancientforests on Instagram
9:14 pm, May 22, 2021 Email to media from Corporal Chris Manseau of the BC RCMP: Please be advised there is no scheduled media meet-up tomorrow, Sunday May 23rd, as there is no planned or scheduled enforcement of the BC Supreme Court’s injunction order in the Fairy Creek Watershed area. The RCMP has tried to remain as flexible as possible for all media to have access, however there have now been several instances of persons claiming to be media who have then joined the protest situation. If any journalists from recognized media outlets are interested in observing, reasonable efforts will be made to provide access to the enforcement area as described in the media release from Monday May 17th. As the access control points do not have cellular or data services, it’s recommended that should media be interested access, please contact me at this email address rather instead of arriving at the access control points, so I can assess options. Thank you for your co-operation and participation over the last couple of days.
Afternoon, May 22, 2021 Updates from the Rainforest Flying Squad: • Video of indigenous-led protest that broke through the exclusion zone earlier today at Caycuse. They staged a peaceful sit-in at the police line. See video. • We are getting updates from “Keys,” a fourth tree-sitter still in Caycuse, that loggers have been falling trees around her for the past 2 hours. They found her internet and apparently have destroyed it. We are very concerned. • We have also heard about 16 to 18 RCMP vehicles are right now en route to Caycuse, including paddy wagons. They have passed the Port Renfrew turnoff. • Tzeporah Berman, veteran of Clayoquot defence and director of the environmental organization Stand.earth, has been released after her arrest today at Fairy Creek.“There are moments in history when our government fails us. When we are called to stand up. This is one of those moments,” she said. “There is so little old growth left standing and the government has so far broken its promise to protect what’s left.” The Clayoquot blockades still stand as the greatest act of nonviolent civil disobedience in Canadian history. • 3:24 pm: Two people who were in a treehouse have been removed by RCMP and were arrested. • Active logging has again resumed at Caycuse. • Bill Jones, a Pacheedaht elder who visited Fairy Creek often in his life, is reportedly on his way to Fairy Creek. Jones recalls visiting the area from his childhood and throughout his life. He regards it as a cathedral, and sacred to his people. He has called for the area to be made a park in recognition of the thousands of First Nations people who died of smallpox in 1862. This is referring to the estimated 20,000 to 30,000 Indigenous people who died of smallpox in 1862-63. Some reports say one-third of the Indigenous population of BC was lost, others say up to 60 percent. Although the Pacheedaht chief has issued a public letter in April asking forest defenders to leave, Jones says he has the right under the Indian Act to invite people to his territory. He continues to welcome all who wish to help defend Fairy Creek to join us now. The city of Victoria grew quite suddenly from 300 to 5000 people in just one year, because of its situation on the way to the Cariboo goldfields. Many First Nations from other communities had come to Victoria for work or trade opportunities. In 1862 there were between 2000 and 2500 First Nations people, including Tsimshian, Haida, Stikine, and others from the north, as well as the Songhees who lived there. Due to racism and fear, Indigenous people were forced to leave Victoria, accompanied by two gunboats, even though many were direly ill with smallpox. Their dwellings in Victoria were burned, to prevent them from returning. Many who were too sick to travel were dropped off along the coast, where they died. There could well be unburied bones of many First Nations around the San Juan River, into which Fairy Creek flows. Those that lived long enough to return home delivered the devastation of smallpox to their territories, killing thousands, as far north as Alaska. The Haida population alone was decimated from a pre-epidemic count of 6,607 people to only 829 in 1881. Because First Nations were decimated, their land claims were ignored. It is part of the reason BC didn't make treaties: “Governor Douglas had earlier signed 14 treaties on Vancouver Island until a funding conflict between the Crown and the colony postponed progress and, in the face of the smallpox crisis, treaties became a low priority. ‘There was this pervasive belief that this was a dying race and the smallpox epidemic seemed to confirm that. So essentially treaty-making was abandoned as a result,’ says Lutz.” From MacLeans.
1:11 pm, May 22, 2021 Email report from the Rainforest Flying Squad: RCMP are enforcing the injunction at Waterfall Camp. Four people have been arrested. RCMP are still working to extract someone locked to a structure underground, which requires a jackhammer.This is Rainforest Flying Squad's first camp. It guards the approach to the Fairy Creek watershed. As soon as it is cleared, road building crews will begin cutting down trees and carving a road into the last unlogged watershed in the San Juan River system. It is the last pristine watershed, outside of a park, on southern Vancouver Island. Although Teal Jones says it is only cutting down a small area in the headwaters, their permit allows building one kilometre of roads into Fairy Creek. This alone will do incredible damage. Old-growth forests are far superior at carbon sequestration. Protecting old-growth forests is an exponentially better way to mitigate climate change than planting seedlings.
11:57 am, May 22, 2021 Rainforest Flying Squad reports: We have just heard that about 50 pro-logging demonstrators have blocked our convoy of protestors at Mesachie Lake, who were heading to a demonstration at Caycuse Main, just south of Lake Cowichan. At Caycuse, RCMP are currently working on getting the treehouse down, which has two people in it. At Waterfall Camp, RCMP are extracting a man from a structure using jackhammers.
10:56 am, May 22, 2021 Rainforest Flying Squad reports: About 15 RCMP vehicles, including paddy wagons, are at our Waterfall Camp. We are asking media to attend both Eden and Waterfall camps as soon as possible. Trees are being felled again at Caycuse, again near tree-sitters. WCB [Worksafe BC] has again been called. We have heard RCMP are there with SUVs and dogs in the back woods. Journalists and lawyers were turned away at Caycuse this morning.
9:03 pm, May 21, 2021 Email from Corporal Chris Manseau, BC RCMP, to media: Tomorrow, Saturday May 22, 2021, enforcement of the BC Supreme Court injunction order is again planning on continuing. As operations are still being developed, the exact location of the enforcement has yet to be determined. However, I have been assured that it will be near Port Renfrew. I ask that you meet our Media Relations Officers at 9:15 a.m. in the Port Renfrew area. They will be waiting in a gravel pull out/ parking area approximately 2kms past Port Renfrew on Harris Creek Rd. [Clarified later: Google calls the road Pacific Marine Rd. I have been assured that it is across from the entrance to the Port Renfrew Marina & RV Park.] RCMP Sergeant Kris Clark will be driving a blue Chevrolet Trailblazer (for reference) You will be asked to sign in with identification and contact information. At approximately that time (or before) the RCMP Relations Officers will be informed where enforcement will be scheduled to take place and you will be invited to travel to the enforcement area led by our Media Relations Officers. They will then escort you into a designated area for media. Every reasonable effort will be made to allow you to get as close as possible to the enforcement area, while ensuring no interference with police operations. Plenty of time will be provided to you in the area to ensure that you have opportunity to document and report on actions as they occur. Due to timing and logistics, these plans may vary. We cannot guarantee you access if you are not there on time tomorrow, but we will ensure we provide ample notice if meeting times change. I will not be able to provide further information on the anticipated plans for tomorrow or subsequent days ahead.
1:00-1:45 pm, May 21, 2021 A series of emails from the Rainforest Flying Squad report: • Three arrests have been made at Road 2000 near Fairy Creek today. They are being taken to Lake Cowichan RCMP detachment. • However, “Pony” the tree-sitter at Caycuse has survived active tree falling nearby today, and police efforts to extract her so far. We hear they need to get special equipment—a genie lift—from Nanaimo. • Dangerous tree extraction continued in Caycuse with someone on the ground almost hit. • Worksafe BC has now shut down tree falling around tree sitters. This activity, by loggers, was unsupervised by RCMP. • Owing to endangered screech owls in the area, BC’s ministry of forests has shut down logging activity around the sites. Caycuse remains defended. Beautiful forest at Caycuse, now believed dead. Photograph by Will O’Connell
11:44, May 21, 2021 Email from Rainforest Flying Squad, Caycuse, Ditidaht Territory: RCMP are now extracting the first tree-sitter. We have just heard a journalist was arrested at Caycuse. Sierra Club says endangered screech owls have been seen at Caycuse: https://sierraclub.bc.ca/teal-jones-risks-destroying-fragile-western-screech-owl-forests/?fbclid=IwAR0RKEr3-mazsUO6IT_kiS3TfxpjcELdp4-sciePa76g4GcCkYQLPZp1hCc
11:19 am, May 21, 2021 Email from Rainforest Flying Squad: • RCMP are extracting a protestor who has locked part of his body underground [on Braden Main in Pacheedaht Territory] Police have set up an exclusion zone at Braden Main, about 3.9 km , where the road forks onto 2000 Road, near Fairy Creek. Paddy wagons and a fleet of police vehicles arrived earlier this morning. Protestors had recently set up a new blockade there, and loggers had been turned away from active felling for several days. The felling is in a forested area contiguous with Fairy Creek, but outside of the Fairy Creek watershed itself. • And in Caycuse, Ditidaht Territory: We have heard there is falling one tree length away from a tree sitter. RCMP are working on extracting the tree sitter. Why are they allowing falling to continue?