Police enforcement of the court-ordered injunction granted to Teal-Cedar Products on April 1, 2021, in the Fairy Creek watershed area near Lake Cowichan resumed today with multiple arrests.
According to an RCMP media release Tuesday, they spoke with protesters who were blocking a bridge and when they failed to obey the injunction or leave, three were arrested for breaching the court’s order.
One officer was allegedly assaulted by a suspect who took off into the woods, and police say a report to the Crown will be forwarded for consideration of criminal charges.
Over the past several weeks, the company has reported numerous violations of persons obstructing, impeding and interfering with their ability to perform work in the area.
There have also been reports from company employees of being harassed or intimidated, and their equipment and corporate vehicles vandalized on a forestry road outside of Port Renfrew.
More recently, a group of individuals established a blockade on the TR-11 Forestry Service Road at the Gordon River Mainline, over the Gordon River, preventing the company from harvesting already felled timber.
While the RCMP has maintained a police presence in the area and have been monitoring the activities of protesters, the company has requested that the police enforcement clause of the injunction be implemented.
Operations will begin with the police-liaison team advising individuals blockading the bridge that enforcement would be commencing.
They will be given the opportunity to remove their blockade and leave the area or relocate to allow the company passage across the bridge, per the terms of the injunction, or face arrest.
“Public safety is the primary concern for police as we attempt to resolve this issue,” said Superintendent Ken Floyd, gold commander of the BC RCMP.
“We have always ensured that individuals are able to exercise their rights to peacefully, safely and lawfully protest within the terms set by the court in the injunction. Arrests are made as a last resort, over meaningful dialogue and negotiation. However, due to the ongoing nature of the complaints, we can no longer delay enforcing a court-ordered injunction.”
Police will continue to monitor the situation, and updates will be posted in the Lake Cowichan RCMP Detachment website as and when available.
Confrontations between police and protesters have led to more than 1,100 arrests since 2021, but when a court tossed out one case because police didn’t read the entire injunction, dozens more acquittals followed and B.C.’s prosecution service dropped 146 cases after the high court’s decision last Thursday.
— with files from The Canadian Press