A monumental cedar within an approved cut block in the Caycuse Valley. Credit: Will O’Connell 
May 17, 2021

 

RCMP set up exclusion zone at Caycuse today

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: RCMP set up a checkpoint this morning at Caycuse and at McClure Main, near Rainforest Flying Squad’s Caycuse blockade.

This blockade was set up on Easter weekend to interrupt active felling of old-growth trees.

The RCMP have issued a 24-hour notice to protestors to leave the Caycuse camp. RFS has been told that media or those not wishing to be arrested will be placed in exclusionary zones.

We have been told that only media approved through RCMP Strategic Communication Section in Vancouver will be allowed inside the exclusion zone. Gatekeeper is Corporal Chris Manseau.

We are told there will be a designated place for protestors and observers. Everyone behind the line will be arrestable when the 24 hours ends tomorrow morning.

However, Noah Ross, a lawyer retained by Rainforest Flying Squad, says the RCMP is overstepping by setting up an exclusion zone.

“Their job is to enforce the specific terms of the injunction as granted by Justice Verhoeven. It prohibits certain activities in a certain area. There’s no geographical restriction within the injunction,” he explained.

“Exclusion zones are only legal in certain limited circumstances in which there are serious public safety risks. It’s explicitly not allowed by the injunction,” Ross said. He used the example of excluding the public from a neighbourhood where there has been a shooting, until it is safe.

The BC Civil Liberties Association made complaints about this last year at Unistoten, but to little avail, he added.  However he noted, “If arrestees are not violating the actual injunction we would expect that their charges would be dropped.

“It appears that the RCMP are once again willing to enforce inclusion zones that are not legally justified in order to make their job easier. They’re willing to overlook people’s civil rights in order to give industry access to their logs. It is not legally justified.

“Whose public safety justifies them not going closer? It’s the safety of industry, not the safety of people’s civil liberties.”

Access to the checkpoint at Caycuse is only from the Lake Cowichan side at this point. All of our other blockades, including Fairy Creek, are still accessible.

We are encouraging all those who want to stand up for BC’s old-growth forests to join our other blockades (see info on laststandforforests.com, or on social media) or to come and protest at the RCMP checkpoint at McClure Road

Supporters in Victoria are planning solidarity actions, including a Vigil for Ancient Forests on Wednesday from 4 to 5:30 p.m. at the BC Legislative Buildings at Government and Belleville, as well as a sit-in on Thursday morning.

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For more information:

Email: media@laststandforforests.com