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Old-growth protesters, loggers clash near Honeymoon Bay

Officer struck by vehicle during enforcement at Fairy Creek
RCMP officers remove protesters who had locked themselves to a forestry road gate near Honeymoon Bay on Monday, July 12. (Submitted)

In separate incidents on Monday, July 12, police had to intervene in a dispute between protesters and logging workers on the Gordon River logging road in the Honeymoon Bay area, and an officer was struck by a vehicle while making an arrest in the Fairy Creek area.

As RCMP were on their way to enforce the BC Supreme Court injunction against protests and blockades in the Fairy Creek watershed, they received a complaint that several protesters and vehicles were blocking the Gordon River logging road. When they reached the scene, they found several protesters and loggers at the gate, including three protesters who had locked themselves to the gate.

“There are indications that a verbal argument had taken place earlier which escalated to a physical dispute,” the RCMP reported.

Paramedics were called and one male protester was assessed but refused to unlock himself or be transported to hospital. Three people, including two minors, were eventually removed from their locking devices and arrested for mischief. Lake Cowichan RCMP are investigating the assault and ask anyone with information to contact them at 250-749-6668.

At Fairy Creek that same morning, a group of people on foot and a vehicle containing three individuals were stopped at the South Access Control Point. Two pedestrians were arrested for breaching the injunction, and one was arrested for obstruction when they refused to leave the roadway.

As police arrested one of the people on foot, the vehicle broke through the access control point, lost control and drove into a ditch. The driver still refused to stop, and while driving out of the ditch, hit an officer who was conducting an arrest, then continued up the Braden Mainline road. The officer was not injured.

The vehicle was located with the help of a helicopter, and three people were arrested: the driver and one passenger for assaulting a peace officer and obstruction, and the other passenger for resisting arrest and obstruction.

Including another person who was located within the injunction area, intoxicated and “behaving in a hostile and belligerent manner”, 10 protesters were arrested on July 12, and processed at the Lake Cowichan RCMP detachment or released in Port Renfrew.

“We are extremely concerned with the level of violence and disregard for safety shown by these contemnors, particularly in cases where these behaviors create a serious risk of injury to our officers,” said Chief Superintendent John Brewer, Gold Commander of the RCMP Community-Industry Response Group. “Assaulting an officer with a vehicle is a potentially life threatening act of violence. Peaceful protest can take place without a risk of harming others. Criminal acts of violence will not be tolerated.”

Since police began enforcing the BC Supreme Court injunction on May 17, 403 people have been arrested, including at least 27 who have been arrested more than once.

Kevin Rothbauer

About the Author: Kevin Rothbauer

Kevin Rothbauer is the sports reporter for the Cowichan Valley Citizen
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