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

AW Neill Elementary School in Port Alberni. (NEWS FILE PHOTO)
SD70 chooses new name for AW Neill School in Port Alberni

New name honours Nuu-chah-nulth Peoples’ connection to region

Douglas Holmes, current Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District chief administrative officer, is set to take on that position at the Regional District of Nanaimo come late August. (Submitted photo)
Regional District of Nanaimo’s next CAO keen to work on building partnerships

Douglas Holmes to take over top administrator role with RDN this summer

Ron MacDonald fields questions at a news conference in Halifax on Sept. 27, 2011. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan
Finding ‘comfortable’ indigenous monitor tough task in Tofino-area shooting death

Julian Jones case hampered by difficulty finding a civilian comfortable with privacy protocols

Port Alberni RCMP officer in command Insp. Eric Rochette presents longtime community policing volunteer Louie Aumair with a OIC appreciation certificate. (SUBMITTED PHOTO)
Port Alberni RCMP honour longtime volunteer

First responders receive support from broader community

The Dock+ is located on Harbour Road in Port Alberni. (SUSAN QUINN / Alberni Valley News)
PROGRESS 2021: Port Alberni’s food hub still growing a year later

The Dock hopes to open a retail store on Alberni’s busy waterfront

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau participates in a plenary session at the G7 Summit in Carbis Bay, England on Friday June 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada donating 13M surplus COVID-19 vaccine doses to poor countries

Trudeau says the government will pay for 87 million shots to be distributed to poor countries

Cruise ship passengers arrive at Juneau, Alaska in 2018. Cruise lines have begun booking passengers for trips from Seattle to Alaska as early as this July, bypassing B.C. ports that are not allowed to have visitors until March 2022 under a Canadian COVID-19 restrictions. (Michael Penn/Juneau Empire)
B.C. doesn’t depend on U.S. law to attract cruise ships, Horgan says

Provinces to get update next week on Canada’s border closure

This undated photo provided by Girl Scouts of New Mexico Trails shows a scout donating cookies to firefighters in Rio Rancho, New Mexico, as part of the Hometown Heroes program. As the coronavirus pandemic wore into the spring selling season, many Girl Scout troops nixed their traditional cookie booths for safety reasons. That resulted in millions of boxes of unsold cookies. (Girl Scouts of New Mexico Trails via AP)
Thinner Mints: Girl Scouts have millions of unsold cookies

Since majority of cookies are sold in-person, pandemic made the shortfall expected

In this artist’s sketch, Nathaniel Veltman makes a video court appearance in London, Ont., on June 10, 2021 as Justice of the Peace Robert Seneshen (top left) and lawyer Alayna Jay look on. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Alexandra Newbould
Terror charges laid against London attack suspect

Crown says Nathaniel Veltman’s four counts of first-degree murder constitute an act of terrorism

Premier John Horgan speaks as provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry, right, and health minister Adrian Dix look on during a press conference to update on the province's fall pandemic preparedness plan during a press conference from the press theatre at Legislature in Victoria, Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. officials to provide details on Step 2 of COVID reopening plan Monday

Step 2 could allow for larger gatherings and a resumption of recreational travel

Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller is seen during a news conference, Wednesday May 19, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Indigenous child-welfare battle heads to court despite calls for Ottawa to drop cases

Feds are poised to argue against two Canadian Human Rights Tribunal rulings

The Great Ogopogo Bathtub Race has been held in Summerland as a fundraising event. Do you know which Canadian city introduced this sport? (Black Press file photo)
QUIZ: A summer’s day at the water

How much do you know about boats, lakes and water?

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod laughs while playing with Lucky the puppy outside their Chilliwack home on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: B.C. family finds ‘perfect’ puppy with limb difference for 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy has special bond with Lucky the puppy who was also born with limb difference

Most Read