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Emotions erupt between police and protesters at old-growth anti-logging blockade

Video captured and posted online shows a more violent arrest at an anti-logging blockade near Fairy Creek as protesters block the road and refuse to leave.

Emotions continue to erupt at an anti-logging blockade on Vancouver Island as protesters and police clashed on Thursday.

A more dramatic arrest was captured on camera and posted to Fairy Creek Blockade’s Instagram.

The man in the video spoke to Glacier Media and said his name is Dominic.

“An officer came up and said, 'You’re under arrest,'” says Dominic. “I didn’t do anything wrong. I said I am not under arrest and he said I was and then he put his hand on me and tried to start moving me around.”

He claims to have been walking to grab a friend's backpack and was observing the demonstrators.

“Despite my best intentions, [the officer] put me on the ground rolled me over... I have a bump on my head,” he says. 

Hundreds of protesters have blocked the logging road for days after police enforced a court-ordered injunction to remove old-growth logging protesters from the area around Fairy Creek. 

As of Thursday, police have arrested 21 people. Seventeen of them breached the induction and four were arrested for obstruction. 

Teal Jones Logging has the right to harvest and a nearby First Nation says they have obtained commitments from the government and the licence to protect specific areas of interest to them. 

“Pacheedaht First Nation is deeply saddened and concerned by the continued extreme disrespect being shown to our people,” says Rod Bealing, forestry manager.

“Our traditional territory is currently being exploited as a backdrop for a provincewide environmental campaign with insufficient regard to the proper Indigenous protocols, or the sovereignty, rights, wishes or needs of the Pacheedaht people.”

He adds their planning process will properly engage the nation, allow everyone's voice to be heard, and "guide our management of our traditional territory into the future." 

A spokesperson for Rainforest Flying Squad, the group that's behind the blockade, says they will continue to stay until the old-growth trees are protected.

“The fact of the matter is we are down to a tiny fraction of the old-growth forest that once dominated the landscape. We are on the brink of ecosystem collapse in these areas,” says Joshua Wright. 

More than 200 people are scattered across the area at six different camps, according to Wright. 

“These forests could survive just fine without us, but we can’t survive without them,” he says.

A woman, who asked to be called ‘Pony,’ positioned herself high up in the trees and says she won’t come down. She’s been up there for four days. 

“I have refused to come down so I will just stay and see how long it takes them to come and take me down,” she says. 

Mounties say they will continue to monitor the situation and, on Friday, will remove people from trees if they do not choose to come down.

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