Protests underway, arrests at Fairy Creek for “not working” logging, judge says – Kelowna Capital News
A B.C. Supreme Court judge in Nanaimo on Thursday suggested he would consider new options to deal with the future of an injunction against blockages by people opposed to the felling of old trees on part of Vancouver Island.
Justice Douglas Thompson expressed concern about the situation unfolding in the Fairy Creek area north of Port Renfrew after hearing from lawyers representing protesters and the RCMP.
British Columbia logging company Teal Cedar Products Ltd. has asked the court to extend the injunction order against the protest blockades by one year. The injunction expires on September 26.
âMaybe the one thing everyone’s on agreement with right now is that what’s done isn’t working,â said Thompson, who asked the lawyers to come to court on Friday on loan. to discuss the structure of the injunction.
He said he would not make a ruling on the company’s request on Friday and that his ruling would come after September 26.
About 1,000 people have been arrested in the Fairy Creek area since May, when the RCMP began enforcing an earlier British Columbia Supreme Court injunction against dams erected in several areas near logging sites .
The court heard from lawyers representing the protesters who argued that people from all walks of life with environmental concerns were being treated as terrorists by the police and the company.
A mounted police lawyer said police were tasked with enforcing a court order under increasingly difficult circumstances.
“My general argument will be that there is nothing here to lead this court to conclude that there is a general problem with the way the RCMP enforces this injunction,” said lawyer Donnaree Nygard, who represents the mounted police in the name of the Attorney General. from Canada.
She said a video showing an RCMP officer stomping on a protester’s guitar was “probably unnecessary”, but throughout the injunction period, there was not enough information “to find or imply that the RCMP acted inappropriately in these situations “.
Nygard cited an affidavit filed by the RCMP Chief Superintendent. John Brewer, who is a senior officer at Fairy Creek, said: “This is the most complex operation he’s been involved in. He says the ground changes every day.”
Lawyer Elizabeth Strain showed the court videos and photographs of police allegedly dangerously removing protesters from trees and ditches, and removing face masks from people at checkpoints before spraying them with pepper spray.
Protesters include young people, teachers, retired scientists, doctors, lawyers and students who fear climate change and want to protect trees. They are treated like terrorists, she said.
âThese people are not terrorists,â Strain said. âThese are ordinary people who came down to protest. These are people who are afraid of the future. They face militarized police forces.
Thompson told Strain that the videos had at times “annoyed” him because protesters appeared to use tactics designed to make enforcement of the injunction more difficult.
But he then expressed his concern to Nygard to see video of police removing a young woman’s face mask and spraying her with pepper spray.
âOn some level, shouldn’t I be drawing a conclusion about how they are implementing the court order? Thompson asked.
Lawyer Matthew Nefstead, representing several members of the Rainforest Flying Squad protest group, said the grant of the injunction extension should be denied because it could be seen by police as giving them additional powers.
Teal Cedar’s attorney Dean Dalke told the court on Tuesday that the lockdowns hampered the company’s legal rights to harvest timber and alleged the protesters’ actions posed dangers to employees and the RCMP.
âDirk Meissner, The Canadian Press
Fairy Creek Watershed Law and Justice