Ayana Benning, 5, and her brother Tulsie Benning, 4, marched up with their signs and parents to join the celebration at Braden Main forest service road, where the police exclusion line was breached May 29. (Zoe Ducklow/News Staff)

Ayana Benning, 5, and her brother Tulsie Benning, 4, marched up with their signs and parents to join the celebration at Braden Main forest service road, where the police exclusion line was breached May 29. (Zoe Ducklow/News Staff)

RCMP arrest all but one at Fairy Creek blockade, protesters take it back next day

Crowds of supporters and a car of elders breached the police line

The people working to stop old-growth logging on southern Vancouver Island are using inventive tactics, determination and sheer numbers to prevent the RCMP from removing them from the various blockades in the forests west of Lake Cowichan and north of Port Renfrew.

On Friday (May 28), RCMP arrested most people stationed in and around the Waterfall blockade, except for one.

He was in what the organizers have dubbed a flying dragon: a cantilever position where the person was sitting at the end of a plank suspended over a steep drop. The other end of his plank was held in place by the weight of his car.

Police were unable to remove the individual safely after hours of effort, witnesses say.

Early the following day, many protest supporters gathered at a police line on Braden forest service road blocking access to the Waterfall blockade, about 12 kilometres north of Port Renfrew. Among the hundreds was elder Bill Jones and a 17-year-old Victor Peters, whom Jones calls the true Pacheedaht First Nation hereditary chief.

Jones cut the yellow police tape, a crowd of supporters behind him, as he addressed the RCMP standing a few metres up the road.

“You’ve been draining this territory for some 200 or 300 years. You have cut all our timber with no guilt or remorse. You are invaders. And I say to you: clear the road, to escort my chief,” Jones said.

RELATED:Solidarity for Indigenous claims over Tree Forest Lot 46 builds

RELATED: Seniors overwhelm RCMP barrier past Fairy Creek

Folk singer Luke Wallace led the gathered protesters in song at Braden Main May 29. (Zoe Ducklow/News Staff)

After the elders drove through, RCMP say several hundred pedestrians also chose to pass the exclusion line illegally, some going on to hike more than two hours up the road to the Waterfall blockade. The rest stayed inside the exclusion line for hours, singing and celebrating. There were children, seniors, friends and strangers. First-time protesters and some who have camped in the woods on and off for months.

The Rainforest Flying Squad says it has retaken Waterfall, which has been described as a last stand before the old-growth forest in that area.

RCMP Sgt. Kris Clark, a media relations officer present Saturday (May 29), said the exclusion zones are necessary to control access to the area for safety purposes since it’s an active worksite. When asked why the RCMP were allowing the public to stay, Clark looked around at the crowd of people, which he estimated to be between 700 and 1,000, and said, “I think you can infer why.”

Luke Wallace (centre) describes himself as a “pro-forestry, pro-logger folk singer in support of protecting old-growth forests and forest communities.” (Zoe Ducklow/News Staff)

A coalition of media are planning to file legal action challenging the legality of the exclusion zones, where they say journalists have been denied access to report and observe.

The Rainforest Flying Squad refuses to follow the injunction, saying the old-growth trees are worth more standing. Thousands of people agree, based on the crowds that showed up Saturday – mostly masked, outside and distanced – between the Braden Main gathering and a ceremony at the Fairy Creek headquarters.

Hundreds also marched on Premier John Horgan’s offices in Langford, and other rallies were held around the province. The same day, a rally was held at Mesachie Lake to support Teal-Jones and the old-growth logging.

An RCMP officer surveys the crowd gathered beyond the exclusion line at Braden Main on May 29. (Zoe Ducklow/News Staff)

RELATED: Anti-logging protest lands on Premier John Horgan’s Langford doorstep

RELATED: VIDEO: Vancouver Island loggers, supporters rally in Mesachie Lake


Do you have a story tip? Email: zoe.ducklow@blackpress.ca.

Follow us on Twitter and Instagram, and like us on Facebook.

Fairy Creek watershedforestryPort RenfrewprotestRCMP

Just Posted

Kitimat’s Water Quality Advisory, which has been in place for just over a week, has been lifted. (Black Press file photo)
Water Quality Advisory in Kitimat lifted

The district has been under a Water Quality Advisory since June 2

On June 16 at 6 p.m., the Kitimat Chamber of Commerce will be hosting a public presentation and discussion with Happipad, a social enterprise, to talk about solutions for affordable housing Kitimat. (Happipad photo)
Affordable housing to be focus of Kitimat Chamber of Commerce meeting

Figures indicate the average Kitimat household needs to make more than $92,000 a year

(District of Kitimat logo)
Hirsch Creek Bridge restricted to single lane traffic

The district is restricting the bridge traffic to legal highway loads only

Artist’s illustration of the proposed Kitimat LNG facility at Bish Cove near Kitimat. (Kitimat LNG illustration)
Haisla Nation surprised by Woodside pull out from Kitimat LNG project

Haisla Nation council states its main focus is now on developing the Haisla-led Cedar LNG project

(Northern Health logo)
Pop-up vaccine clinic tomorrow at the Save-on-Foods parking lot in Kitimat

The clinic will be this Friday, June 11 from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.

At an outdoor drive-in convocation ceremony, Mount Royal University bestows an honorary Doctor of Laws on Blackfoot Elder and residential school survivor Clarence Wolfleg in Calgary on Tuesday, June 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
‘You didn’t get the best of me’: Residential school survivor gets honorary doctorate

Clarence Wolfleg receives honorary doctorate from Mount Royal University, the highest honour the school gives out

"They will never be forgotten, every child matters,” says Sioux Valley Chief Jennifer Bone in a video statement. (Screen grab)
104 ‘potential graves’ detected at site of former residential school in Manitoba

The Sioux Valley Dakota Nation is working to identify and repatriate students buried at the Brandon Indian Residential School

The Queen Victoria statue at the B.C. legislature was splattered with what looks like red paint on Friday. (Nicole Crescenzi/News Staff)
Queen Victoria statue at B.C. legislature vandalized Friday

Statue splattered with red paint by old growth forest proponents

Police cars are seen parked outside Vancouver Police Department headquarters on Saturday, January 9, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Vancouver police officer charged with assault during an arrest in 2019

The service has released no other details about the allegations

Denmark’s Christian Eriksen receives medical attention after collapsing during the Euro 2020 soccer championship group B match between Denmark and Finland at Parken stadium in Copenhagen, Saturday, June 12, 2021. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner, Pool)
Denmark soccer player Christian Eriksen collapses during game against Finland

Eriksen was given chest compressions after collapsing on the field during a European Championship

Members of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans’ Marine Mammal Response Program rescued an adult humpback what that was entangled in commercial fishing gear in the waters off of Entrance Island on Thursday, June 10. (Photo courtesy Marine Mammal Response Program)
Rescuers free humpback ‘anchored’ down by prawn traps off Vancouver Island

Department of Fisheries and Oceans responders spend hours untangling whale

As stories of the horrors of residential schools circulate after the Tk’emlups te Secwepemc First Nation announced it had located what are believed to be the remains of 215 children, Grand Chief Stewart Phillip of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs said he feels a connection with the former students. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
2 sides of the same coin: Ex-foster kids identify with residential school survivors

Grand Chief Stewart Phillip says the child welfare system takes Indigenous children from their families

Nathan Watts, a member of the Tseshaht First Nation near Port Alberni, shares his story of substance use, a perspective he said isn’t seen enough. (Photo courtesy of Nathan Watts)
Public shaming, hate perpetuates further substance use: UVic researcher

Longtime addict Nathan Watts offers a user’s perspective on substance use

Most Read