Protester roughed up on camera at B.C. soil dump
The ongoing protest of a toxic soil dump sitting above Shawnigan Lake took a violent turn Friday – and the conflict was caught on camera.
A video shared on Twitter shows a protester getting into an altercation with a man at South Island Aggregates’ dump on Stebbings Road.
A man protesters claim was a truck driver carrying a load of contaminated soil appears to grab a woman holding a “Save Our Shawnigan Water” sign to try to force her out of the way as she screams.
Sierra Acton, a member of the Save Shawnigan Water group, said she witnessed the confrontation and that the woman involved is “really shaken up.”
“He grabbed both her hands and the back of her neck and pushed her down with her head as far as her knees,” Acton said. “All kinds of people gathered around and diffused the situation.”
She said the man was a driver for Wee Bee Hauling, a Victoria-based trucking company.
The owners of the quarry and the owner of the dump trucks were not available for comment Friday.
RCMP confirmed Mounties attended the site at around 7:30 a.m.
They said officers were originally responding to a report of protesters blocking vehicle traffic at the site entrance.
“When we arrived, an individual reported being assaulted by another party,” said RCMP spokesperson Sgt. Annie Linteau.
She said an investigation into the incident is ongoing.
Demonstrators have been tweeting the video to B.C. government officials, including Environment Minister Mary Polak and Premier Christy Clark.
Tensions have been ongoing between protesters, who want the permit for the site revoked over allegations it was obtained fraudulently, and the soil dump owners as well as the province.
Last week, the Ministry of Environment sent a letter to the dump owner warning it could suspend or reduce operations there following a contamination scare the week before.
A no-use water advisory was issued for the south end of the lake as a precaution due to a suspected overflow of water from the dump.
Government scientists later determined there was no risk to public health and lifted the advisory.