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Arrests surpass 550 on anniversary of old-growth logging blockades on Vancouver Island

Victoria -

Mounties arrested 33 people during a massive sweep of old-growth logging blockades on southern Vancouver Island on Monday, while hundreds more protesters gathered in downtown Victoria to mark one year since the protests in the Fairy Creek watershed began.

Police have now arrested 556 people since they began enforcing a court injunction to remove activists from the watershed in May, according to a statement Monday night from the Lake Cowichan RCMP.

The activists aim to prevent access to the old-growth forests by logging company Teal Jones, which holds licences allowing it to log in the watershed.

Police descended on two encampments Monday in the area of the Granite Mainline forestry road.

Thirty-two people were arrested for breaching the injunction and one was arrested for obstruction. All 33 were released in Lake Cowichan, according to the RCMP.

Mounties say they intend to make more arrests in the coming days as protesters continue to occupy encampments throughout the region.

The RCMP say at least 39 people have been arrested more than once at the blockades.

Of all the arrests since May, 406 were for breaching the injunction, 126 were for obstruction, 11 were for mischief, five were for breaching release conditions, four were for assaulting a police officer, two were for failing to comply with a court order, one was for counselling to resist arrest and one person was wanted on warrants issued by the Canada Border Services Agency.

In June, the B.C. government approved the request of three Vancouver Island First Nations to defer logging of about 2,000 hectares of old-growth forest in the Fairy Creek and central Walbran areas for two years, but the protests are continuing.

Activists are calling for the permanent protection of the region’s old-growth forests, saying the temporary deferrals fall short in light of the climate crisis. Top Stories

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