May 18, 2021
Caycuse Blockade, Ditidaht Territory: FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
RCMP entered the Rainforest Flying Squad’s Caycuse camp this morning. Four forest defenders were arrested so far. At least two had locked themselves to a gate, which required first cutting the chain to free them.. They were removed early in the afternoon in a police van.
Reports say that RCMP expect the process of removing the peaceful forest protection camp may take several days.
“We are proud of all our members, who are willing to stand up for the old-growth forests that a majority of British Columbians want protected, in spite of the personal cost to themselves,” says Kathleen Code, a member of the Rainforest Flying Squad.
Noah Ross, a lawyer who has been retained by RFS members, says that on Friday, May 21, 2021, two applications will be made to court seeking to overturn the RCMP exclusion zone. One will be made by the Canadian Association of Journalists seeking free access for media, and one seeking to overturn the exclusion zone on the basis of civil rights concerns.
Pacheedaht Elder William Jones was among the approximately 200 protestors, in 100 cars, who travelled in a convoy to attend the RCMP check-point blockade early this morning. He has made a statement, copied below.
About 25 RCMP vehicles were in attendance this morning, plus two vans. Two portable toilets were installed for police use.
Today the Canadian Association of Journalists called on courts to limit the powers of the RCMP, and other police agencies, when issuing injunctions. This was due to the situation yesterday at Caycuse, when the RCMP temporarily blocked media access. Under mounting pressure, the RCMP have now changed their media policy to some extent.
All of the Rainforest Flying Squad’s other blockades, including Fairy Creek, are still open and accessible. We are encouraging all who want to stand up for BC’s last old-growth forests to come and join us! Protestors are also welcome to join our protest at the Caycuse checkpoint. They will not be permitted to enter the camp and RCMP say they will not be in danger of arrest.
We are grateful to the organizers of solidarity events in cities, such as the Vigil for Ancient Forests Wednesday at the BC Parliament buildings at Belleville and Government in Victoria, from 4 till 5:30 p.m. Check out our Facebook pages and Instagram: Fairy Creek Blockade for more information.
The Rainforest Flying Squad calls all allies and media to attend the RFS camps at Caycuse Creek and Fairy Creek (called Ada’itsx in Pacheedaht). The RFS calls on the BC provincial government to immediately halt all old-growth logging on Vancouver Island, and to uphold its promise to abide by all the recommendations of the Old Growth Strategic Review.
For more information:
Open letter from Pacheedaht Elder William Jones
To all, to whom it may concern and the RCMP:
Stopping and holding people, whether a Canadian Citizen, a First Nations person or any free person in Canada, stopping free access to Crown land is illegal. Stopping free persons from using public roads is illegal and stopping private access for legal purposes such as spiritual quest or recreational camping on Crown land is illegal.
This is especially true considering the Enforcement Order where there are strict instructions from the issuing Justice. The RCMP are overstepping their authority.
I am seeking legal counsel to address the RCMP’s slipshod handling of the court ordered instructions as laid out in the Enforcement Order.
Let’s gather in Caycuse to prevent the RCMP from violating our human and legal rights.