A 59-year-old mother and performance-artist chained herself to the Captain Cook statue in downtown Victoria on Sunday, in solidarity with the 53 people who have been arrested since May 19 for breaching an injunction requiring protesters to allow access through logging roads.
Tasha Diamant chose the Cook statue partly because she says he’s “one of the guys who led us to where we are today. A situation where we have to fight our own British Columbian and Canadian governments to save the last three per cent of ancient forests in B.C.,” she said in a statement through the Rainforest Flying Squad group of activists who have been organizing the blockades since August 2020.
“When Captain Cook arrived in the late 1700s, some of our trees that people are getting arrested for protecting were already ancient!” she said. “That blows my mind.”
She describes herself on Facebook as a “mother, performance artist, activist, schmancer shmurvivor or entitled performative twit. You decide.” Diamant was formerly an associate faculty member at Royal Roads’ Communication and Culture school.
“I have two daughters and it’s my job as a mom to model responsibility and ethics. As a person living with stage four cancer, I may not have a lot of time. I’m extremely anxious about getting arrested but I strongly believe that those of us with privilege must risk arrest to expose the real criminals.”
Victoria Police left Diamant alone, she said, and her supporters expect her to remain chained to the statue “until she’s exhausted.”
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An earlier version of this article stated that 59 people had been arrested, based on RCMP reports that have since been corrected. The actual number is 53, as of May 25.