Opponents of old-growth logging have re-entered a restricted area on southwest Vancouver Island and Mounties have returned to enforce a court injunction that orders their removal.
Fourteen people, including two who were chained to the Hatton Forestry Service Road bridge, were arrested Wednesday.
Police, believing the protest camp at the Caycuse roadblock had been emptied, did not plan to carry out any enforcement action today, said Cpl. Chris Manseau.
“But when a police patrol went down McClure Road this morning, they encountered people who sneaked in overnight, so there were more protesters than we anticipated,” he said. “This morning, more protesters literally came out of the forest. Enforcement is going on now and the media has been invited to return to the scene to watch.”
Police had to scramble a bit to send their enforcement team back down the road, he said.
Police continue to take the same slow, measured approach, arresting protesters for civil contempt for breaching the injunction order. Nobody knows how many protesters are in the area, said Manseau.
RCMP are restricting access to the Fairy Creek watershed to allow Teal-Jones Cedar Products to begin logging.
The company was granted an injunction April 1 allowing the action.
More than three dozen protesters gathered in front of the Environment Ministry offices in Victoria today saying they support those arrested. Many gathered with signs and banners at Capital Park on Superior Street.
Protesters set up camp along the McClure forest service road around Easter, while others have been camping since last August around the Fairy Creek watershed near Port Renfrew, which they say is the last unprotected, intact old-growth forest valley on southern Vancouver Island.
With files from The Canadian Press / Alanna Kelly, Glacier Media